Call for papers

In situ mobilization of renewable and recovered energy, at the building, neighborhood or town level, is being increasingly deployed in Europe. The recent European Energy Directive recognizes the relevance of citizen energy communities. Bringing together individuals or organization, these communities take on a variety of roles: from the cooperative and non-market sharing of jointly captured renewable energy to those of market players such as producers, suppliers, microgrid operators or aggregators, etc. This directive could constitute a turning point in regard to previous directives which aimed to develop competition between gas and electricity operators at the scale of the European single market.

Promoted as part of climate change policies, the substitution of fossil fuels, massively imported in many European countries, by renewable energies widens the realm of possible futures. The spatial aspects of energy systems/circuits linking production and consumption and, more broadly, resources and uses are potentially diversified. Consumption behavior or, more prosaically, energy use practices are being reshaped by injunctions not only for sobriety, which are now usual, but also for flexibility, for demand side management and, maybe soon, for store energy.

Whether continuous (electricity, gas, heat) or discontinuous (solid fuels supplied by transport infrastructures), the networks supporting energy flows are threatened (or comforted?) by a plausible multiplication of self-consuming energy communities that consume the energy they capture in situ and thus reduce withdrawals from public networks. The economics of the networks, their technical reliability and the solidarity to which they contribute are being re-examined. This is of concern to network stakeholders, especially the DSO and regulators. 

Even if the future extent of these transformations is uncertain, they call for new tools for observation, simulation and, ultimately, decision support for a variety of players: energy communities, of course, but also local authorities, network operators, producers, etc.

This conference aims to cross-reference the views on self-producing energy communities. The complex and heterogeneous nature of the transformations calls for a variety of disciplinary approaches to understand transformations and transitions: sociology, psychology, economics, geography, urban planning, management, political science, etc. Below, we propose three axes, which are not comprehensive, to illustrate the diversity of the expected submissions.

Beyond the observation of social and sociotechnical processes, this call for papers extends to decision/design support tools: to architecture as well as to systems sciences such as electrical engineering, energy engineering, applied mathematics... It may involve "modelling" the choice of actors, the technological objects constituting collective energy systems and the mediation between consumption and production in situ.

 

A.    Stakeholders coordination and energy system regulation

The development of energy communities and collective self-consumption implies changes in the way electricity networks are organised and priced (injection, distribution, supply), towards a greater diversity of configurations than that of a relationship between a large supplier and an individual consumer. These changes in coordination between stakeholders and related regulations notably call into question the current forms of public energy services; they open up new spatial scales of coordination of the energy systems and new cooperations between the different public energy networks. We expect contributions to describe the current changes, possibly enlightening them with a historical perspective and/or international comparisons. The contributions could focus on the political meanings, and/or the economic and legal effects of these changes, with the underlying question of the integration of these communities into the national power system (conditions of access to the grid, participation in the global supply/demand balance, solidarity sunding, etc.).

 

B.    Inhabited or transformed space

The deployment of local renewable energy (RE) production and consumption systems questions the processes of design and/or appropriation of space, both at the scale of living units, buildings, blocks, neighbourhoods and even large territories.  The reconfiguration of energy networks, as well as the emergence of new players, suggests a change in the way territories are thought, made and practiced. Conversely, the processes of transformation of the built environment guide and shape the short circuits between production and consumption that are emerging at the local level. 

Without being exclusive, the proposals will be able to question the collectives set up to lead or accompany the emergence of such energy systems, their nature, the negotiations that develop within them, and the way in which the functioning of these collectives and systems is linked to the practices of the spaces, which are inhabited in a broad sense. They will also be able to question the evolution of the design processes of architectural, urban and landscape projects in contact with these devices, whether in operational, morphological or sensitive dimensions.

 

C.    Method and tools for driving, monitoring and managing multi-stakeholders energy systems

The development of projects sharing the energy mobilised and consumed in situ is carried out in a variety of configurations: architectural and urban projects, consumer/producer cooperatives, municipal or landlord initiatives, etc. The design is most often carried out in consultation between several stakeholders. The processes leading to investment and the definition of energy sharing rules are based on decision support tools that can take a wide variety of forms: serious games, 2D or 3D digital representations, modelling perimeters, management methods, usability by decision-makers/designers/consumers ... These tools can also meet a variety of objectives carried by different stakeholders. Beyond (or upstream) the usual technical and economic optimisation approach, they can propose and discuss scenarios prior to the investment or during the use phase. The expected contributions may relate to the development of tools, their use in decision-making processes, associated deployment strategies, etc., or even to the presentation of methods and tools.

 

Major crisis challenge society, communities and individuals: infrastructure reliabily, micro- and macro-resiliences, states' protection capacity, neoliberally inspired globalization, public services running... These are issues which question the role of energy communities consuming their own produced energy. Without being a central question neither a new theme, can lessons be learned, shall recent observation results be reinterrogated ? The contributions may thus open a discussion on the update of your researches and on the research agenda relating to energy communities (addendum du 19/03/2020). 

 

Expected contribution

Abstracts of 3000 letters maximum (title, authors and affiliation ; references are in addition) to download here (a login or account creation will be requested)

Language: French or English

Special edition of journals are targeted to publish contributions.

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