Citizens share in Berlin Energy Grid for sustainable energy
This intervention has been translated into a brief governance scenario. Take a look at Creating a Sustainable Energy System: a Citizen-Driven Transformation
You read this description and want to hear more about this case? Get in touch! Contact email@example.com for more information.
- 1 a) Basic characteristics and ambitions of the intervention
- 1.1 1. What is the name and the urban context (e.g. city/district) of the intervention? Please also indicate the geographical scale of the intervention (e.g. neighborhood, district, small/medium/ capital city, metropolitan area ...). [Example: “Brixton Energy in Brixton, London (a neighborhood in the capital city)”]
- 1.2 2. What sector(s) (alias domain/ policy field) is the intervention primarily implemented in? [e.g. housing, mobility, energy, water, health, local economy, biodiversity, CC adaptation, etc.]
- 1.3 3. What is the intervention (i.e. situated experiment) aiming to achieve in terms of sustainability and justice? [If possible, please copy from a project website and give a reference]
- 1.4 4. What is the interventions’ timeframe?
- 1.5 5. By what governance mode is the intervention characterized primarily? (see Appendix 1: Three modes of governance)
- 1.6 6. Why do you consider it worthwhile to study and share experiences made in the context of this governance intervention for sustainable and just cities?
- 1.7 7. In which project deliverable(s) or other documents can information be found on this situated (i.e. place specific) governance intervention?
- 2 b) Additional basic characteristics, links to earlier UrbanA work
- 3 c) Actor constellations
- 3.1 10. Who initiated the intervention?
- 3.2 11. Who are the envisioned benefiters of the intervention? (both at a local level and higher, if applicable)
- 3.3 12. Who else is (going to be) involved in the intervention, and what was/is their main role?
- 3.4 13. Which particular interactions among various stakeholders (stakeholder configurations) were crucial in enabling the intervention to emerge successfully? This could include direct or indirect impacts on interventions.
- 3.5 14. To what extent, in what form and at what stages have citizens participated in the shaping of the intervention?
- 3.6 15. How are responsibilities and/or decision-making power distributed among actors?
- 3.7 16. Exclusion:
- 4 d) Enabling conditions for the implementation of the intervention
- 4.1 17. What circumstances or events are reported to have triggered the intervention? (In what ways?)
- 4.2 18. Are particular substantive (multi-level) governmental policies considered to be highly influential in the genesis and shaping of the intervention? (If easily possible, please specify the policy, the policy field and the governance level mainly addressed, and characterize it along Appendix 2: Policy typology)
- 4.3 19. What constitutional responsibilities and rules does the intervention build upon? In other words, what rights, powers, and/or responsibilities, does the country's constitution (in a broad sense) award municipalities, states, utilities, NGOs, citizens, etc. and how does this impact the intervention?
- 4.4 20. According to project material/and or interviews, in what ways have particularities of (local) political culture influenced the character and success of the intervention? (i.e. trust in political institutions, citizens’ will to interact with policymakers and vice versa, traditions of cooperation, etc.)
- 4.5 21. What are financial arrangements that support the intervention?
- 4.6 22. Have any of the above conditions changed within the intervention’s timeframe, which have (significantly) influenced it in a positive or negative way?
- 5 e) Obstacles to successful intervention implementation
- 6 f) (Institutional) Work done to overcome obstacles
- 6.1 24. What has been done by each central actor group to overcome which particular obstacles in the way of successfully implementing the intervention? (this may include institutional Work - maintaining, disrupting, and creating new rules, applying to both formal laws/regulations and informal norms and expectations.)
- 7 g) Reported outcomes
- 8 h) Learning involved in establishing the intervention
- 8.1 Learning context
- 8.1.1 26. According to the TRANSIT project’s four mechanisms for empowerment – i. funding; ii. legitimacy; iii. knowledge sharing, learning, and peer support; or iv. visibility and identity – please briefly describe the following, and indicate where the intervention has been developed or supported as part of which formal collaborations, networks or projects:
- 8.2 Learning content
- 8.3 Learning process
- 8.3.1 28. In what ways has the intervention been adapted to specific circumstances of the targeted urban context based on the learned content reported in question 27?
- 8.3.2 29. Based on your answers to question 24, how has overcoming obstacles (reportedly) contributed to the learning process?
- 8.3.3 30. Please list any tools that enabled the learning process (e.g. various Knowledge Brokerage Activities from pg. 24 of FOODLINK’s Deliverable 7.1 - linked in footnote) and the actors involved in using them.
- 8.1 Learning context
- 9 i) Learning involved in establishing interventions elsewhere (transferability)
- 9.1 31. Suggestions regarding transferability.
- 9.2 32. In what forms has the learning process, including stories of overcoming obstacles, been recorded for, and/or made accessible to city makers also from elsewhere?
- 9.3 33. Have any signs of collaboration, support, or inspiration already been reported between actors involved in this intervention and others that follow its example? (e.g. in “follower cities”?)
- 10 j) Structural learning
- 11 k) Reflections on important governance concepts
- 11.1 35. What other aspects of governance, that were not covered above, are important to highlight, too?
- 11.2 36. From your perspective as a researcher, which word or phrase characterizes this governance intervention most concisely? (Please attach your name to the characterization) In other words, what is the biggest takeaway from this intervention about governance arrangements?
- 12 Appendix 1: Three modes of governance
- 13 Appendix 2: Policy typology
a) Basic characteristics and ambitions of the intervention
1. What is the name and the urban context (e.g. city/district) of the intervention? Please also indicate the geographical scale of the intervention (e.g. neighborhood, district, small/medium/ capital city, metropolitan area ...). [Example: “Brixton Energy in Brixton, London (a neighborhood in the capital city)”]
The intervention is called BürgerEnergie Berlin (BEB). It is a cooperative that unites citizens in Berlin - the capital and a city-state of Germany - to work together for a sustainable, climate-friendly, and citizen-owned energy system. The intervention is based at the city level.
2. What sector(s) (alias domain/ policy field) is the intervention primarily implemented in? [e.g. housing, mobility, energy, water, health, local economy, biodiversity, CC adaptation, etc.]
3. What is the intervention (i.e. situated experiment) aiming to achieve in terms of sustainability and justice? [If possible, please copy from a project website and give a reference]
BEB aims to acquire a share in the energy grid of Berlin and change the energy mix towards renewable energy. It intends to promote and support members economically and build a socially and environmentally compatible, decentralized, inexpensive, and nuclear-free sustainable energy system. BEB advocates for a climate-friendly, democratic, and solitary energy supply, and the necessary energy policy to promote this, in Berlin. Focus areas include green electricity, energy-saving, citizen power plants, and the Berlin power grid purchase.
In an interview, a BEB member stated, “One of our major aims has been to bring back the Grid in public ownership with the participation of a cooperative which is us. This is a tool to reach our overarching objective of having a sustainable and fair energy system in Berlin. We have approached this by putting a bid for the license of the grid”.
4. What is the interventions’ timeframe?
BEB was founded in December 2011 and is registered in Berlin's cooperative register of the district court under the number GnR 734. It formally started its groundwork in 2012. BEB is still fighting against a concession to Vattenfall, and is working toward buying a share in the future concessions.
5. By what governance mode is the intervention characterized primarily? (see Appendix 1: Three modes of governance)
BEB could be categorized as a voluntary governance system - commitment or action beyond legal requirements is undertaken by private actors or non-governmental organizations (TESS 4, pg. 25).
This is an interesting case in which citizens are empowered to be better providers of public services, i.e. providing renewable energy services at fair prices. The intervention is a citizen-based initiative that recommends a hybrid system of governance, where citizens have equal voice and a significant share in profit.
7. In which project deliverable(s) or other documents can information be found on this situated (i.e. place specific) governance intervention?
- Deliverable 3.2: Analysis of success factors - summary reports on case study findings.
- Booklet - Community Climate Action across Europe.
8. EU Project-context of the intervention:
- a. Has the intervention been developed or studied in the context of an (EU-funded?) project? (please name the project, its duration and include a link to the project website here).
BEB has been studied by a European project called Towards European Societal Sustainability (TESS). TESS was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant number 603705 from 2013 to 2016. The project explored the role of community-based initiatives (CBIs) in transitioning to a sustainable and low-carbon Europe.
- b. According to WP3’s database of approaches, which approach(es) does the intervention best fit under? Where applicable, please indicate if the intervention is found in a project that has been explicitly mentioned in the database.
Energy and Mobility Solutions Governance and Participation Processes Co=learning and Knowledge Brokerage
- c. Have some project deliverables been coded in the context of UrbanA’s WP4?
9. Problematization and priority:
- a. How exactly has inequality and exclusion been problematized (by whom) in the context of this intervention?
Privatization of energy markets, monopoly of a few private organizations over Berlin’s energy grid, and consequent unfair electricity prices in the city are challenged by this intervention, which brings instead an alternative democratic, citizen-centered, and decentralized energy governance system (TESS 4).
- b. Has the achievement of justice explicitly been named as a major motivation behind the intervention?
Yes, an explicit motivation of this intervention is to pursue justice by offering fair tariffs and distributing profits among communities, rather than profits centered in one big company.
- c. Which drivers of injustice does the intervention address? (see Database of drivers of injustice)
c) Actor constellations
10. Who initiated the intervention?
This initiative was started in 2011 by a group of active citizens who sought to bring the energy grid under the management of the people, with a particular focus on the need for to transition to renewable sources of energy (BEB). BEB is still fighting against a concession to Vattenfall, and is working toward buying a share in the future concessions (TESS 4, pg. 15).
11. Who are the envisioned benefiters of the intervention? (both at a local level and higher, if applicable)
Cooperative members are the immediate beneficiaries, whereas wider beneficiaries from fair electricity prices and green energy could include the citizens of Berlin.
12. Who else is (going to be) involved in the intervention, and what was/is their main role?
|Actor types||Yes||Actor name and role|
|Academic organizations||Yes||Students of the field of renewable energy as volunteers in their free time|
|Civil society organizations|
|Hybrid/ 3rd sector organizations|
|Social entreprises||Yes||Naturstrom, EMobility, EWS Schönau|
|For profit entreprises||Yes||Supermarkets, StadtwerkeSchwäbisch-Hall|
|Local/regional government||Yes||Local Municipality|
|Other initiatives||Yes||Volunteers, shareholders, and local citizens as part of campaigns|
13. Which particular interactions among various stakeholders (stakeholder configurations) were crucial in enabling the intervention to emerge successfully? This could include direct or indirect impacts on interventions.
BEB has a large number of alliances including cooperatives, ethical banks, and renewable energy companies. The cooperative expanded quickly in numbers and donations through synergies with the networks established by other energy cooperatives and movements in the field of energy and politics. Schönau Cooperative has been instrumental in the success of BEB by passing on knowledge and expertise. In order to reach out to people and inform them about the cooperative, they worked together with a media network summit called “NetzGipfel” and took part in demonstrations and other events to inform people about their initiative and thus recruit more participants (TESS 4, pg. 113). BEB would not have been able to establish itself nor grow the way it did without the contribution of volunteers. Most of them are students, mainly graduates from the field of renewable energies, but there are also retired people who want to use their free time to help the cooperative. According to an interviewee working at BEB as a volunteer, “Among the most important factors for the cooperative being alive and working to realize its goals is that we have a lot of people as volunteers giving their time and putting in their efforts for instance, myself and other team members, although, their duties are being managed paid positions - two general managers – in BEB. The two general managers are essentially doing what needs to be done from coordinating all the activities to implementing new ideas and doing all the nitty gritty and everything. However, that wouldn’t have been possible without the larger membership base that is gradually increasing”.
14. To what extent, in what form and at what stages have citizens participated in the shaping of the intervention?
Citizens have been the founders and drivers. The BEB works on the notion of democratic participation. Any citizen, including citizens from other parts of Germany and even other countries in the EU, could be the members of BEB with amounts starting at 100 euros (TESS 4, pg.17)
15. How are responsibilities and/or decision-making power distributed among actors?
BEB has a pyramid structure with only a few people on the top, consisting of founders and highly engaged people, and a broad base of members involved in the daily work. It has groups of volunteers and general assemblies, allowing for the participation of all members. However, it also has some key individuals who are driving the evolution of the organization through careful planning and more strategic actions. Every member of the cooperative has votes for different levels of decision-making, depending on the number of shares purchased. BEB’s cooperative's supervisory board is democratically elected and decides on the use of profits, how to deal with losses, and general trend-setting decisions about BEB that are made at the general assembly (TESS 5, pg. 31).
- a. Which stakeholders or social groups were excluded (at which stages)?
Non-German speakers and those who cannot buy the 5 shares necessary (each cost 100 Euros) to be part of BEB’s decision-making process (TESS 5, pg.25). The members who cannot afford that cost are excluded from certain decisions (TESS 5, pg. 31)yet there is the possibility for participation as a volunteer.
- b. Is there any indication why this may have happened? With what outcomes? Has anything been done to overcome such exclusions?
The cooperative is German-based and therefore operates in German. Regarding the financial matter, it highly depends on its members’ ability to buy shares in the Berlin energy grid. As a result, members with greater financial contributions have a greater say in decision making.
d) Enabling conditions for the implementation of the intervention
17. What circumstances or events are reported to have triggered the intervention? (In what ways?)
BEB was driven by civil discontent and frustration with a profit-oriented company - Vattenfall - owning the energy grid in Berlin (TESS 4.pg. 15). Over the past decades, the governance of electricity grids in German municipalities has been shaped by liberalization processes. In the 1990s, Berlin took a leading role in the privatization of public assets due to the city’s financial crisis post-reunification. The city failed to install appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for the emerging hybrid service provision systems. This resulted in poor performance on regional innovation and environmental modernization, along with limited economic benefits for the city. Consequently, growing discontent with private utility ownership and an increase in awareness of the potential financial benefits from grid operations have given rise to a resurgence of ideas around community management. One of the principal actors in the resurgence was a roundtable organization that campaigned the city government to regain control of the power grid and create a municipal power utility. This began in 2010.
18. Are particular substantive (multi-level) governmental policies considered to be highly influential in the genesis and shaping of the intervention? (If easily possible, please specify the policy, the policy field and the governance level mainly addressed, and characterize it along Appendix 2: Policy typology)
BEB started in response to a change in the allocation procedure in the Berlin power system, which opened the possibility of buying and operating the Berlin energy grid. BEB benefited from Energietisch (a plebiscite held in 2013 voted in favor of remunicipalisation (83%) but missed the threshold of total numbers in favor), and the new allocation procedure for the Berlin power system (Strombetriebskonzession – current operating license). It took advantage of the window of opportunity, challenging single dichotomies of public versus private management by introducing a citizen-owned management partner (TESS 4, pg. 15). Other policies shaping the intervention include the German Feed and Tariff Program (2000), which sought to achieve renewable energy goals of 40-45% by 2025 and 55-60% by 2035. This was followed by the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009 that sets rules for its member countries to achieve 20% of renewable energy by 2020 (TESS 4, pg. 32).
19. What constitutional responsibilities and rules does the intervention build upon? In other words, what rights, powers, and/or responsibilities, does the country's constitution (in a broad sense) award municipalities, states, utilities, NGOs, citizens, etc. and how does this impact the intervention?
The initiative has been founded on the basis of the right to hold a plebiscite/referendum and the constitutional right to freedom of assembly (Art. 8) and association (Atr. 9). Moreover, BEB was launched to strengthen democratic participation and achieve a more progressive climate policy (TESS 5, Pg. 31). Other constitutional rights (given by the Federal Republic of Germany) include:
- Art. 8 freedom of assembly
- Art. 9 freedom of association
- Art. 5 Freedom of arts, expressions, and sciences
- Art. 42 The Bundestag - Public sitting (majority decisions)
- Art. 72 Division of powers between federation and Landers
- Art. 104 Apportionment of expenditure - financial system - Liability
- Art. 28 Land Constitution - Autonomy of Municipalities
20. According to project material/and or interviews, in what ways have particularities of (local) political culture influenced the character and success of the intervention? (i.e. trust in political institutions, citizens’ will to interact with policymakers and vice versa, traditions of cooperation, etc.)
BEB is an initiative attempting to decentralize the hierarchic and monopolized energy market in Berlin. It is mainly the result of public distrust in private and government institutions and the realization of their responsibility and competency to provide themselves the basic services in a more efficient, effective, inclusive, and sustainable way. However, given the current political system, BEB’s success is highly dependent on political decisions that take a long time to come along and is well-connected to formal political parties and actors. Therefore, it works extensively on making and maintaining contacts with public figures. Furthermore, the cooperative is perceived as a space for political training where people can meet and deliberate. In their attempts to buy the energy grid of Berlin, BEB cooperates with the city government and needs the collaboration of local officials (TESS 5, pg.17).
21. What are financial arrangements that support the intervention?
BEB mainly depends on corporate members’ shares and trust funds for raising money to purchase a 25% share of Berlin’s electricity grid. Funding from sponsorships and donations are used for the awareness-raising campaigns (e.g. zuvielKohle) that are run by the cooperative (TESS 4, pg. 46).
22. Have any of the above conditions changed within the intervention’s timeframe, which have (significantly) influenced it in a positive or negative way?
Awareness-raising campaigns have successfully reached a number of citizens and positively impacted the intervention with a large increase in volunteers and members. These campaigns focused mostly on the importance of safe, green, and democratically managed energy utility.
Note: Certain contexts, which provide opportunities to learn from other relevant experiences, may also be a supportive framework condition. Please see section h, questions 26 + 30 on learning context.
e) Obstacles to successful intervention implementation
23. What obstacles to implementing the intervention (both generally, and in this particular context) have been identified, relating to:
- a. Regulatory framework
Legal arrangements related to bidding procedures are complex and time-intensive. For instance, Vattenfall is currently taking legal measures against the preliminary operator of the grid "Landesbetrieb Berlin Energie" (who won the procurement procedure in 2019), but legally can only start operating when Vattenfall´s legal measures are overcome. An interviewee representing BEB said, “One of the barriers to the goals we have is the national regulation for grid ownership. The legal system doesn’t favor easy changes in the grid concession, especially if you are a newcomer it is very difficult to get into this area because you have to fulfill a lot of requirements which is a good thing actually because it is a very important public infrastructure consequently, it is important that one is highly capable of delivering a safe and secure energy supply”.
- b. Legitimacy
The flow of information and transparency have also been flagged as shortcomings.
- c. Public awareness
Another barrier stated by an interviewee with a BEB member is the lack of public attention. The interviewee said that it had been a long time since they started as a cooperative in 2011 (officially started in 2012 and handed in the bid for the concession in 2016), and the senate in Berlin is still making a decision on who gets the concession for the grid. Many people in the public may have forgotten or are unfamiliar with this initiative, as it has not recently been in the public view or media attention.
- d. Finances
- Arranging funds to obtain 25% of the Berlin power grid. BEB is highly dependent on membership fees (or 100 euro) due to its legal restrictions to harness project funding for being a cooperative.
- Vagueness of the act for the economy of energy (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz) costs money (lawyer’s consultancy) and time.
- Vattenfall has been proposing numbers concerning the value of the grid that was not reasonable (TESS 4, pg.17).
- e. Others (please name)
- The resistance against remunicipalisation is strong; companies and the Federal Cartel Agency question the suitability of citizens and cities as service operators and want to protect the current market structure
- Given most of the members work on a voluntary basis, BEB cannot be as professional as it could be due to the constant change of people. One of the board members states she has a lot of control over the cooperative, although the supervisory committee also plays a central role in management.
- Dependence of BEB’s success on political will. One interviewed politician says, “It could be too much money and work for them to handle” (TESS 5, pg. 25).
In an interview, a BEB representative stated: “The political will is another barrier even though it is mentioned in the coalition agreement between the currently governing parties in Berlin that the cooperative ownership in the public grid is wanted. Politicians tend to forget this over time. Well, we are not in the spotlight of attention anymore and we have to remind them, especially if there is a legal procedure which is going on pushed by Vattenfall against the governments’ decision on giving grid concession to a public entity”.
f) (Institutional) Work done to overcome obstacles
24. What has been done by each central actor group to overcome which particular obstacles in the way of successfully implementing the intervention? (this may include institutional Work - maintaining, disrupting, and creating new rules, applying to both formal laws/regulations and informal norms and expectations.)
|Name of obstacle||What work was/is being done to overcome this obstacle and by what actor groups?|
|1.Lack of required finance||Run awareness campaigns to attract financial donations and membership share through the media. In an interview (Sep 9, 2020) a BEB representative illustrated that the cooperative uses 50% of the money from the membership shares to provide a financial base for the implementation of a project.|
|2.Data security issue||Ensured safety of data by changing BEB website’s security standards.|
|3.Legitimacy/Transparency concern||Flow of information and transparency matters have been addressed by issuing an internal newsletter.|
|4.Resistance against the initiative by Vattenfall||BEB is reaching enough people to influence political decisions and to strengthen its stand.|
|5. Regulatory challenges||Are being dealt with by the members of BEB with great patience and a significant amount of economic, time, and energy resource investment (TESS 5, pg. 25).
In an interview a BEB interviewee emphasized, “we demand better conditions in terms of better regulations and more favorable policies that would allow us to do certain things not only us but in general civil society and citizens to get directly engaged for example in electricity production from solar PV. We try to campaign for that, we try and propose what is possible and we do it regardless of the legal system which is our identity as a cooperative to do it anyway. if the state doesn’t provide us with the rights and enabling conditions we try to generate them ourselves. But this is really difficult in the energy area because it is strongly regulated in an Urban context where you have to deal with a lot of actors and lot of regulations and it is quite complex”.
g) Reported outcomes
25. What are the reported outcomes of the intervention? This may include economic outcomes, political outcomes, ability to reach sustainability and justice targets, etc.
BEB is now closer to its goal than ever. In 2019 the "Landesbetrieb Berlin Energie" won the procurement procedure which is a victory on the way to remunicipalisation. After trying to fight this with a lawsuit and even winning its case before the regional court, Vattenfall dropped the lawsuit in 2020, as they fear that the legal process could drag on for years. This opens the possibility for BEB to resume negotiations with the country of Berlin about the operation of the grid. At the moment, the country is negotiating the price of the grid and the subsidiary company of Vattenfall which will influence future involvement of BEB. The government’s decision on remunicipalisation and Vattenfall’s willingness to sell the energy network favors BEB, although previously, when Vattenfall filed a lawsuit against the government's decision on remunicipalisation, there were high chances of the situation disfavouring BEB. Thus, to stay relevant and for achieving their overarching goal of green electricity production and provision, BEB is reinventing itself and working on numerous other projects including solar energy production. A BEB representative in an interview stated, Below are some achievements of the milestones accomplished by BEB:
- its campaigns work, and having started an important discussion on public participation in decisions concerning energy infrastructure.
- Collection of 11 million Euros in 2015 (100 million Euros is target) to buy 25% of the energy grid.
- Increase in the rate of membership (therefore funding too), campaigns sponsorships, number of volunteers and media attention are the biggest achievements of BE.
Success in the future would mean to be a shareholder of the energy grid in Berlin or at a cooperation partner, supplying renewable energy (TESS 5, pg. 16).
h) Learning involved in establishing the intervention
Please fill in any information on social learning that has occured in this intervention (conceptualized here as “Learning context, content, and process” in line with the FOODLINKS project). Where possible, please differentiate your response into learning done by specific actor groups.
(i.e. the configuration and social environment enabling the learning process)
26. According to the TRANSIT project’s four mechanisms for empowerment – i. funding; ii. legitimacy; iii. knowledge sharing, learning, and peer support; or iv. visibility and identity – please briefly describe the following, and indicate where the intervention has been developed or supported as part of which formal collaborations, networks or projects:
- a. any previous experiences in the same urban context (e.g. city…) that the intervention is (reportedly) building upon? This could include any relevant experiences in the same or another sector.
- b. any inter-city partnerships, or transfers from experiences elsewhere that have (reportedly) been important in the emergence of this intervention?
The intervention is building upon previous experience from the town of Schönau, though it from a different context: Schönau is a small town whereas Berlin is a city state. In an interview, a BEB member highlighted that Schönau EVS had provided great support. He further elaborated “…. Schönau EVS pioneers were the ones most experienced in operating the grid, campaigning against nuclear power, campaigning in favor of sustainable energy, and also successfully winning the concession of their grid. They have supported us from the beginning. They have also given guidance during the whole journey and provided resources we couldn’t have come up with ourselves. The concession of a grid is an extremely difficult matter. One has to have very very specific detailed legal knowledge which demands a lot of resources. In that sense, we have been directly supported and inspired by EVS Schonau. We have also shared learnings in a different context with people working on a similar initiative in Hamburg. Likewise, there are a lot of examples in Germany especially with cooperatives implementing projects for renewable energy generation and there is an active process of sharing best practices and learning so on”.
27. Has any acquired knowledge (e.g. technical knowledge, awareness of local political procedures etc.) been reported as particularly helpful to this intervention?
- a. from previous experiences in the same urban context
- b. from inter-city partnerships or transfers from experiences elsewhere
EWS Schönau has been instrumental in the success of BEB by passing on knowledge and expertise. One of the founders of Schönau is even a board member of BEB. In order to perform outreach and recruit participants in the cooperative, BEB worked together with the media organization “NetzGipfel” (Network Summits), and participated in demonstrations and other events. A BEB representative mentioned, “From my own experience over the years a huge amount of interest from all kind of different actors in what BEB has been shared in forms of: participation in research projects, presenting our experiences before different groups varying from a class of school children who would like to learn about the project to a delegation from a South Korean city, civil servants visiting Berlin on a study trip to journalists, media, and so on. We are constantly in touch with the responsible people from the Berlin city administration especially in the area of energy and we also participate in civil society platforms, forums and events”.
- c. from other knowledge gatherings/research
28. In what ways has the intervention been adapted to specific circumstances of the targeted urban context based on the learned content reported in question 27?
The intervention had not been replicated elsewhere yet.
29. Based on your answers to question 24, how has overcoming obstacles (reportedly) contributed to the learning process?
No learning tools documented or reported.
i) Learning involved in establishing interventions elsewhere (transferability)
31. Suggestions regarding transferability.
- a. Have any suggestions been made about a replicability, scaleability or transferability of the intervention? [e.g. in the documentation of the intervention in a project or the press? Links would be perfect]
BEB is a replication of another cooperative from the town of Schönau that successfully purchased the town’s power grid. A similar initiative has been undertaken in Hamburg. So, it can be said that the initiative is highly replicable, however, transferability/replicability has not been suggested.
- b. Transferability to what kind of contexts has been suggested?
Transferability in the same context has been recommended.
- c. Who has made the claims?
- d. What limits to transferability to broader contexts have been discussed?
32. In what forms has the learning process, including stories of overcoming obstacles, been recorded for, and/or made accessible to city makers also from elsewhere?
As part of TESS study, BEB members had been interviewed about the intervention including confronted challenges/obstacles.
33. Have any signs of collaboration, support, or inspiration already been reported between actors involved in this intervention and others that follow its example? (e.g. in “follower cities”?)
BEB’s goal has not yet been achieved therefore the replication of the specific intervention has not been recorded.
j) Structural learning
34. Has the intervention influenced higher-level governance arrangements such that sustainability and justice are considered (together) in a more durable, structural way? In other words, are there any observations about more structural, long-term changes as a result of the intervention?
- For example: new programs run by local councils, new modes of citizen participation, new mediating bodies
- Is there other evidence that the project has contributed to enhancing sustainable and just governance in cities in a general sense?
In response, see the statement below by an interviewee from BEB:
"I would argue that there have been changes in terms of how the energy system can be imagined, who owns it and who participates in it. There have also been changes in political documents for example the coalition agreement in Berlin especially, there has been quite a lot of public and policy attention to citizens’ participation in the energy sector. There is legislation for tenants’ energy self-consumption models contributed by the citizen energy movement. BEB is part of that movement".
k) Reflections on important governance concepts
35. What other aspects of governance, that were not covered above, are important to highlight, too?
The initiative aims to build and improve alternatives in parallel to the existing governance structure. They pose a decentralized energy system (and economy) that focuses on supply-driven-demand, not demand-driven-supply.
36. From your perspective as a researcher, which word or phrase characterizes this governance intervention most concisely? (Please attach your name to the characterization) In other words, what is the biggest takeaway from this intervention about governance arrangements?
A citizens-driven initiative based on a decentralized bottom-up governance system, standing firm to achieve envisioned goals even when things didn’t work as expected and planned.
Have questions or comments? Contact information regarding this case can be found at the top of this page!
Appendix 1: Three modes of governance
(from NATURVATION project)
NATURVATION's NBS-Atlas distinguishes three categories of governance arrangements (dubbed "management set-ups":
- Government-led (Gov)
- Co-governance or hybrid governance (mix of responsibilities between government and non-government actors) (c/h)
- Led by non-government actors (NGO)
Alternatively or additionally, the following four modes of governing (as distinguished also by Bulkeley/Kern 2006 and Zvolska et al. 2019) could be used as a typology: Castan Broto/ Bulkeley 2013:95
- Self-governing, intervening in the management of local authority operations to ‘‘lead by example’’;
- Provision, greening infrastructure and consumer services provided by different authorities;
- Regulations, enforcing new laws, planning regulations, building codes, etc.; and
- Enabling, supporting initiatives led by other actors through information and resource provision and partnerships”
Appendix 2: Policy typology
(from NATURVATION project)
|Regulatory (administrative, command-and-control)||Mandatory fulfillment of certain requirements by targeted actors||Legislations, regulations, laws, directives, etc.|
|Economic (financial, market-based)||Financial (dis)incentives to trigger change by providing (new) favourable (or unfavourable) economic conditions for targeted actors||Positive incentive include subsidies, soft loans, tax allowance and procurments. Negative incentives are taxes, fees and charges.|
|Informative (educational)||They aim at providing information or knowledge to target actors in order to increase awareness and support informed decision-making accomplish or prevent social change||Information and awareness raising campaigns, informative leaflets, advertisements in different media.|
|Voluntary||Commitment and/or actions beyond legal requirements, undertaken by private actors and/or non-governmental organisations.||Voluntary actions and agreements.|
- Background to this question: Our four main criteria for selecting particular governance interventions and develop rich descriptions of them were: A) The intervention has been studied in a specific urban context (e.g. city), B) this context is located in Europe (and, preferably, the study was EU-funded), C) the intervention considers to a large extent sustainability AND justice (at least implicitly), and D) it is well-documented, ideally including assumptions or even critical reflections on enablers and barriers to implementation and on transferability (i.e. ‘de-contextualizability’). Additionally, we aimed at a diverse portfolio of domains (see Q2.) and governance modes (see Q5): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nCPcUd-COIQ1MsBjir20_F1CBbnSu6HqKH9nNLshiVQ/edit?usp=sharing.
- Actor types according to TRANSIT’s Critical Turning Point Database, http://www.transitsocialinnovation.eu/about-ctps-in-tsi-processes.
- If easily possible mention sources for your association of roles.
- Deliverable 7.1 Synthesis Report on results from Monitoring and Evaluation (p.14) : http://www.foodlinkscommunity.net/fileadmin/documents_organicresearch/foodlinks/publications/karner-etal-d-7-1.pdf .
- http://www.foodlinkscommunity.net/fileadmin/documents_organicresearch/foodlinks/publications/karner-etal-d-7-1.pdf .
- Feel free to include learning that has been made available through EU project documentation, intervention initiatives, or other channels. In addition to the forms in which the learning process has been shared with others, please indicate whether the learning process that’s being shared has been recorded in a self-critical/reflexive way.