Transformative Energy Transition from the bottom-up: exploring the contribution of grassroots innovations in the Spanish context

Victoria Pellicer Sifres
Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research

Energy transition is attracting increasing attention in academic, activist and policy debate. Although there is a recognition of the urgency of achieving a more sustainable model, and a small body of scholars contend the need for a systemic transition, very little research has specifically been conducted on the changes and proposals promoted by grassroots innovations. This paper explores why energy grassroots initiatives are key spaces of interest in the process of energy transition, and proposes an exploratory characterisation of a “Transformative Energy Transition.” To this end, a qualitative analysis is carried out and a framework developed that connects ideas from socio-technical transitions theory, grassroots innovation literature and the human development approach. The results suggest five broad arguments to justify why the initiatives studied are relevant, and the paper concludes that “Transformative Energy Transition” must be aligned with values of equity, sustainability, participation and diversity.