Whose energy transition is it, anyway?
As one of the most ambitious national energy transition initiatives worldwide, the German Energiewende is attracting a huge amount of attention globally in both policy and research circles. The paper explores the implementation of Germany's energy transition through the lens of organization and ownership in urban and regional contexts. Following a summary of the principal institutional challenges of the Energiewende at local and regional levels the paper develops a novel way of conceptualizing
... of conceptualizing the institutional to urban and regional energy transitions in terms of agency and power, ideas and discourse, and commons and ownership. This analytical heuristic is applied to a two-tier empirical study of the Berlin-Brandenburg region. The first tier involves a survey of the organizational landscape of energy infrastructures and services in cities, towns and villages in Brandenburg. The second tier comprises a case study of current, competing initiatives for (re-)gaining ownership of the power grid and utility in Berlin. The paper draws conclusions on the diverse and dynamic organizational responses to the Energiewende at the local level, what these tell us about urban and regional energy governance and how they are inspired by – or in opposition to – new forms of collective ownership resonant of recent debates on reclaiming the commons. It concludes with observations on how relational approaches to institutional research and the notion of the commons can guide and inspire future research on socio-technical transitions in general, and urban energy transitions in particular.