Components and Factors for Actualization of Collective Action Initiatives in the Energy Sector

Jay Sterling Gregg, Sophie Nyborg, Meiken Hansen

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In this conceptual paper, we develop a framework for understanding how collective action initiatives (CAIs) in the energy sector (e.g., energy collectives, positive energy districts, wind power cooperatives, etc.) form and gain agency and power ‐ a phenomenon we label as 'actualization'. We build on the mobilization model described in Gregg, et al. (2020) to better elucidate how specific factors are related and how they influence the linkages between the internal (interests, organization, resources) and external (opportunities and threats) dimensions of CAI mobilization. To do this, we develop an actualization framework, organized by three conjunctive components (triggers, enablers, and
innovation), each composed of inclusive disjunctive factors. Our hypothesis is that a CAI needs to satisfy each of the components with a combination of factors in order to actualize its agency and power to effect changes in a local or regional energy system. In this way, the framework provides more detail in explaining and predicting how CAIs succeed or fail. We test the hypothesis on a selection of case studies from the literature. Our hypothesis appears to hold, suggesting that further research is warranted to test and develop the framework. We furthermore conclude that factors can reinforce each other, or also serve as a barrier to CAI actualization. In the latter, the proposed framework can provide insights into alternatives ways around barriers to secure agency and power within a CAI.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event11th International Sustainability Transitions Conference - Online event, Vienna , Austria
Duration: 18 Aug 202021 Aug 2020
Conference number: 11


Conference11th International Sustainability Transitions Conference
LocationOnline event
Internet address


  • Collective Action Initiatives
  • Energy Cooperatives
  • Energy Transition
  • Social Innovation


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