Community Renewable Energy Networks in urban contexts: the need for a holistic approach

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Elizabeth Tomc
Anthony M Vassallo

Abstract

Despite a ubiquitous interest in community energy, a review of the literature reveals a fragmented approach in which the technology elements that need to be considered for the effective existence of CREN are well understood but the social aspects have not yet been addressed to the same degree.   Thus, while technology is no longer the limiting factor it used to be and there are mechanisms that can be used to deal with the social requirements, the fragmentation remains a challenge.  The next necessary step in the exploration of community renewable energy lies in crafting a holistic approach that brings it all together to foster successful implementations.  The aim of this paper is to define an urban CREN within this holistic outlook and review the literature that refers to the different aspects that need to be considered for project success in a greenfield setting.  In conclusion, the authors suggest the reconceptualisation of CREN as an organisation to create a business model in which the technology and social aspects are approached in a transdisciplinary manner to achieve the effective creation and ongoing operation of such networks.  

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Author Biographies

Elizabeth Tomc, The University of Sydney

Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Anthony M Vassallo, The University of Sydney

Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering