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SocialRES: Social Innovations as the Pathway Towards Energy Democracy and as Sustainable Solution for the Mitigation of the Global Warming
S. Caneva, I. Weiss, I. Lizarralde, M. Hamwi, A. Abi Akle, B. Samir, V. Kromrey, D. Vedel, J. Lin, A. Schneller, J. Hoffmann, K. Kohl, L. Richter, E. Schmid, C. Crippa, E. Denny, I. Petrov, S. Mulero, A. Hernández Serrano, M. Regidor, I. Lacoste, R. Ruiz, S. Campos, E. Otero, N. Brito, I. Branco Lopes, K. Harder, T. Šimek, A. Costeniuc
Business Model, Crowdfunding, Social Innovation, Energy Democracy, Civic Participation
Energy Transition – Integration, Storage, Sustainability, Policy, Economics, Energy Poverty, Society
Subtopic: Societal Challenges; Citizens’ Participation, Awareness
Event: 8th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion
Session: 5EP.1.4
1486 - 1489
ISBN: 3-936338-86-8
Paper DOI: 10.4229/WCPEC-82022-5EP.1.4
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper


The actual climate crisis generated by the global warming requires a strong civic participation to find a sustainable solution to overcome this critical time. The COP26, the UN climate conference, which took place last year in Glasgow, has the highest participation rate in COP´s history despite the global pandemic. The world was expecting more ambitious actions for a clean global energy transition to achieve the 1.5 degree-goal. It is now clear that this ambitious goal cannot be achieved only by political decisions. A strong civic participation is required to make sure that the global warming will not lead to an irreversible status of the climatic crisis characterized by climate events, which will make the life of human beings not more sustainable on this planet. Social innovations are the key to overcome this crisis and provide a sustainable solution to the mitigation of global warming towards the achievement of 1.5 degree-goal. Social innovations are defined as “New ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words, they are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act”. Source: Empowering people, driving change, Bureau of European Advisers (BEPA), Brussels (2011). In the renewable energy sector, social innovations are identified as the business models able to support the production of renewable energy and, at the same time, the cooperation among citizens. As common denominator they have the concept of “power of many” to highlight that, through the union of small contributions, it is possible to build projects having positive environmental, economic and social impacts. The business models implementing social innovation in the renewable energy sector are cooperatives, aggregators and crowdfunding platforms. The development of renewable energies and a greater civic participation will be the two pillars of the clean energy transition. Social innovations can combine these two fundamental aspects and lead to the energy democracy and, as consequence, to a mitigation of the global warming. This paper has been prepared in the framework of the European project SocialRES (Fig. 1), which has the aim to investigate the business models of social innovations in the renewable energy sector to provide the owners or managers of crowdfunding platforms and cooperatives and aggregators, named “the facilitators of energy democracy”, with new tools to further support the production of renewable energy and the participation of citizens.