As the energy transition progresses, energy storage becomes increasingly important for safeguarding a reliable energy provision. At the same time, energy storage systems are used to increase the self-consumption of decentralised generation and are expected to result in lower electricity bills for the energy prosumers. Drawing on sustainability transitions and management literature, this contribution focuses on a neighbourhood battery with the aim to explore to what extent a collaboration between a network operator and renewable energy initiatives on local energy storage could help increase the impact of the latter in the energy transition. The concept of a neighbourhood battery involves strategic decisions, and perhaps a strategic innovation, whose transformative potential depends to a large extent on the perceptions and actions of those involved. This paper explores the opportunities and constraints for a collaborative business model for the neighbourhood battery in the Netherlands, as well as the challenges and tensions that emerge for the main parties involved. The perspectives of the network operator were compared with those of renewable energy initiatives in the country, including the Energy Service Company involved in the pilot and, in parts, with the perspectives of the involved end-users. This contribution registers a misalignment of interests and expectations which complicates the deployment of the neighbourhood battery concept. Recognizing the critical role of network operators, the conditions that may enable the emergence of collaborative business models for local energy storage are also discussed.

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Energy Research and Social Science
Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT)

Proka, A, Hisschemöller, M, & Loorbach, D.A. (2020). When top-down meets bottom-up: Is there a collaborative business model for local energy storage?. Energy Research and Social Science, 69. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2020.101606