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Community renewable energy projects - The role of small scale projects for energy transition

Behrendt, Thomas (2014) Community renewable energy projects - The role of small scale projects for energy transition. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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This research focuses on the evaluation of Community Renewable Energy Projects in the aspect of its role for energy transition.

There are many reasons to believe, that the current energy system needs to be changed. So far our energy consumption was based on fossil fuels, with a number of adverse consequences. Therefore it is expected that a new energy system will replace the traditional one. The process of development from the old towards the new system is so called the energy transition.

To achieve a successful development renewable energy based system, alternatives need to be found. One idea is to support Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREP). These are projects initiated by a local community, with the aim of independently making use of renewable energy. To gain knowledge on the characteristics of such projects, a case study was initiated, which was assessing the implementation process, the characteristics and the way of operation on the basis of four successfully completed examples. For the evaluation of the case studies an AMSWOT- analysis was applied.

The outcomes of this research show the complexity of such projects. Due to the large number of participants in those projects, these are difficult to implement. But the assessed projects show that it is possible to use the diversity of involved people as a strength. Many successful projects have been implemented to date with a very positive outcome.

In some countries those initiatives occupy a significant share of the renewable energy market. Many very small projects are forming a movement that can have significant influence on the energy system. But in other countries a contrasting development was found. CREP are not developed in those places. This shows the dependency of this kind of solution for energy transition on the existence of the right circumstances.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Whale, Jonathan
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