The energy transition is a lot more than just part of the solution to the climate problem. It is an inevitable, yet inherently uncertain process with deep social implications. The transformation of our energy system involves a shift away from the unsustainable, centralised energy system dominated by the large-scale combustion of fossil fuels and can spur wider fundamental changes in society. Renewable energy initiatives, such as citizen-driven energy cooperatives, Energy Service Companies, peer-to-peer or crowdfunding platforms are mushrooming in Europe and beyond, and the same holds for commercial renewable energy developers. Such organisations bring to the fore a wide variety of novel business models in the energy sector. The question that emerges is whether renewable energy initiatives can transform the energy system as a whole. This thesis analyses and evaluates the impact of renewable energy initiatives on the energy transition drawing on insights from the (sustainability-oriented) business models- and sustainability transitions literature. The Transformative Business Models framework is introduced as a tool to analyse and reflect upon a renewable energy initiative’s contribution to the energy transition, but also as a device to navigate and strategize for increasing this contribution.

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The research resulting in this thesis has been financially supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under the research programme “TRAPESES” (2014–2018) [grant number 408-13-029]
D.A. Loorbach (Derk)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT)

Proka, A. (2021, March 5). Organising for power change: Transformative Business Models for the Energy Transition. Retrieved from