The Learning Cooperative. A case study on organisational learning within Dutch renewable energy cooperatives.
Rond, Bryan de
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Renewable Energy Cooperatives are perceived as key players in the global energy transition. These cooperatives are governed with the use of policy instruments, the specific techniques, and tools used to reach desired outcomes, for example the percentage of renewable energy generated through civilian initiatives. Theory on the dynamics around these instruments emphasises their adoption through two main dynamics, supply and demand. Policy adoption from a supply perspective is well understood, however, a research gap remains on the demand side of policy adoption. This study, therefore, aims to identify these mechanisms in order to contribute to a better understanding of policy adoption from a demand perspective. In order to fulfil this aim, a qualitative research approach was used where both semi-structured interviews and grey literature have been analysed. The Dutch Postcoderoosregeling and the respective cooperatives that use this instrument have been selected to serve as the case for this study. In this study, theory on organisational learning has been used. This theory focuses on the process through which organisations change or modify their mental models, rules, processes or knowledge, maintaining and improving their performance, which has been used to guide the analysis and to identify the mechanisms and approaches used by energy cooperatives related to policy adoption. The analysis showed that renewable energy communities employ several approaches to learn to work with and adopt the policy instruments governing them. These mechanisms can be ordered into four main categories: experimentation, learning from past experience, learning from others and transferring knowledge. Within these categories, several approaches are used to learn and develop the skills necessary to adopt and work with new policy instruments. This study contributes to the understanding of policy adoption from a policy demand perspective, and may therefore contribute to better policy design in the future. Additionally, this study has used an originally prescriptive theory as guidance for the analytical framework. However, further research is necessary to determine whether or not this approach is viable for other studies.