Current environmental and socioeconomic challenges request fundamental changes at the heart of our societies. How these transformations will take place and towards which direction(s) still remains something to be imagined and co-constructed.
Departing from the biophysical limits, but not only, of the dependence of our systems on fossil fuels to satisfy our needs, a transition to an alternative way of producing and consuming energy is vital in order to anticipate future shocks and build resilient post-carbon societies.
Current dominant energy actors seem not capable of offering a leading role to such a transition, which requires acting beyond the systemic logics of profit making. Therefore, it seems pertinent to study the increasing number of renewable energy initiatives led by citizens, which in a local, collective and decentralised way intend to offer alternative solutions. Such a model has largely been developed in countries like Germany or Denmark, known under the name of ‘citizen energy’ or ‘community energy’.
By using transition theories as a framework, we will try to understand how a socio-technical niche, such as citizen energy in Romandy (the French speaking part of Switzerland), could transform the dominant socio-technical regime.
More concretely, at the current stage of the research, we will try to present the potential and limits of citizen energy initiatives as a driver for an energy transition in the aforementioned context.
Key words: citizen energy, transition, Romandy
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Can citizen energy become a new paradigm in the context of the ecological transition in Romandy?“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.