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‘Pro-savers’: the role of community in energy demand reduction

Working and conference papers

Community energy provides a space for end-users and inter- est groups to engage with energy consumption and production at the grassroots level. Often emerging out of community-led renewable energy projects, community initiatives have the ca- pacity to address issues such as rising energy prices, fuel pov- erty and the desire of independence from incumbent energy utilities. The publication of the Community Energy Strategy in January 2014 in particular marks the first attempt to insti- tutionalise community energy within the UK energy system. Using localised and tacit knowledge, community energy groups can be ideally placed to deal with energy consumption at the point of demand. This opens up opportunities for consumers to engage not only in energy generation but increasingly also in energy demand-management, thus moving from consumption over ‘prosumption’ to ‘pro-saving’. Our three case studies pro- vide an overview of three community energy approaches that exhibit the emergence of ‘prosumption’ and the shift towards ‘pro-saving’, a concept which includes the notion of demand reduction as well as the development of innovative approaches combining distributed energy with demand reduction and de- mand side response. The paper draws these examples together in order to provide an outlook for increasingly decentralised energy generation and demand-management practices along with some concrete policy recommendations.

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