Years Active: 2009-2014

Summary

Grassroots - non-governmental, non professional groups - actively engage in community focused, policy-orientated action, but how far do they influence the way we generate and use energy in our communities?

This project provided a comprehensive examination of grassroots action and the politics of energy governance in Scotland. A directory of active Scottish community groups focused on energy efficiency, energy use or renewable and low carbon energy has been compiled and preliminary findings presented at several conferences.

Further Information

Grassroots – non-governmental, non professional groups – actively engage in community focused, policy-orientated action, but how far do they influence the way we generate and use energy in our communities? 

Analysing local and community grassroots groups in Scotland, this project aimed to provide a comprehensive examination of action focused on energy efficiency, energy use or renewable energy, to uncover the impact such groups have on energy demand and energy governance.

The research aimed to identify the key characteristics of grassroots groups to highlight:

  • Their level of involvement  with government, NGOs and industry
  • The impact they have had in changing energy use within the community
  • Whether the tight network of energy policy-makers have been forced to accommodate community actors as a result of their activism

An online directory of active community groups was created to include information on the groups’ location, size and resources, key objectives, main activities, and relationship with government and industry.

Using the database, researchers from the University of Edinburgh classified the grassroots groups according to their key characteristics and examined the data to identify which factors appear to matter most in determining the impact of these groups.

Six in-depth case studies were carried out on groups varying in size, resources, objectives and independence from government.

The geographical focus on Scotland fills a gap left by existing studies, which have mainly focused on community activism in England and Wales. Regional institutions and policy communities are much more firmly embedded in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK and the Scottish government is a leader in setting targets to combat climate change and generate more energy from renewable sources.

Establishing the importance and relative success of grassroots community initiatives in Scotland can provide valuable insights for other parts of the UK, providing insights for emerging systems of local and regional energy governance.

For further information please visit the EnGAGE Scotland website.

This research projects sits within the UKERC Energy Demand research theme.

Key Outputs