Energy Research & Social Science: Who wants to get involved? Determining citizen willingness to participate in German renewable energy cooperatives
This paper analyzes the potential for citizen participation in renewable energy cooperatives and the energy transition process in Germany. We consider representative survey data for 4,210 financial decision-makers in German households and analyze (i) differences between members and non-members of renewable energy cooperatives, (ii) non-members’ willingness to participate in energy cooperatives, and (iii) factors determining citizen participation in terms of not only volunteering but also making private investments. We find that the lack of familiarity with energy cooperatives among non-members is a strong limiting factor for the expansion of citizen participation, a finding that indicates the potential of information campaigns. However, we also reveal a substantial participation potential, as about half of the non-members who are familiar with the term “energy cooperative” express a high willingness either to volunteer or to invest. Our econometric analysis based on ordered probit models complements the current state of research on community renewable energy by showing the relevance of not only economic preferences such as patience, altruism, and negative reciprocity but also political preferences and the habit of talking about investments. In addition, we confirm the findings of earlier work with regard to the relevance of economic incentives, environmental values, and social norms.
Fischer, B., Gutsche, G., & Wetzel, H. (2021). Who wants to get involved? Determining citizen willingness to participate in German renewable energy cooperatives. Energy Research & Social Science, 76, 102013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102013