i3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217)

Institut Interdisciplinaire de l'Innovation

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Niches for a transition as a space for renegotiating the energy system: The case of self-consumption
Posted on 6 September 2021

homme réparant un panneau électrique

Considered as a lever for the energy transition, self-consumption (SC) is an emerging practice whose large-scale development is paradoxically controversial. Defined as consuming one's own locally produced energy, self-consumption is still struggling to take off and is the subject of much debate among all the players in the sector in France. This article aims to shed some light on this new object, namely self-consumption of electricity, based on the notion of a transitional "niche" (Schot and Geels, 2007), i.e. a space for experimentation capable of contributing, under certain conditions, to the in-depth transformation of an established system. Identifying the niche that led to the transformation of a system is easy a posteriori. But it can be assumed that a niche, when it is still a niche, is the subject of intense debate. In this article, we look at KT from this perspective: how actors, through the discourses that guide their practices, clash between those who want the niche to be mastered and those who want the system to be transformed.

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