Energy Collectives in the Netherlands: background players in a fossil fuel based system?
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Today the Dutch energy system is dominated by fossil fuels while the Netherlands has committed itself to increase the share of renewable energy production by almost 10% in 2020. The number of civilian collectives who are involved with renewable energy and / or the reduction of energy consumption (energy collectives) increased rapidly in the last few years but their contribution to the share of renewable energy in the Netherlands is close to zero. Are they background players in a fossil fuel based energy system? Behavioural studies concerned with sustainability agree that context has a determinant effect on how people behave. This study aims to supplement the existing knowledge about energy collectives, which is mostly based on qualitative data, with a quantitative study. It investigates a model that shows the relationship between individual factors and contextual factors and their direct and indirect effects on renewable energy production. The individual factors are based on Stern’s Value-Belief-Norm theory and his theory of Environmentally Significant Behaviour. The contextual factors are based on Painuly’s barriers of renewable energy penetration.The results of this study show that individual and contextual factors correlate, that these individual- and contextual factors have a significant effect on collective (renewable) energy production and that collectives that involve people with high scores on individual factors tend to produce less energy. A possible explanation might be that individuals with high scores on individual factors think that reducing energy consumption is more effective than producing more renewable energy.