Tenants and terawatts: Exploring shared viewpoints on local energy transition in Hoogkerk, Netherlands

Bob van Ulsen, Ifigeneia Psarra, Ethemcan Turhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The lack of a thorough understanding of local community's perceptions and considerations, with regard to energy transition, frequently results in the unsuccessful implementation of top-down energy plans and interventions, to which local residents develop strong opposition. The purpose of this study is to gain insights into the way in which the residents of a city district perceive, prioritize and relate to the various aspects of local energy transition. Here we focus on Hoogkerk district of Groningen, located in northern Netherlands, due to the energy transition challenges it faces, but also due to the active role of the recently formulated local citizen initiative. In order to explore diverse viewpoints, a Q methodological study has been conducted in close collaboration with the local citizens energy initiative. Three main viewpoints emerged at the end of our analysis, while insights into a number of overarching consensuses and disagreements were surfaced as well. Indicatively, the protection of social renters in the energy transition policy is prioritized by all the formulated viewpoints. Furthermore, hesitation towards bottom-up processes with regard to the local energy transition, appeared strongly in the results. Finally, the strong ‘village mentality’, that is often attributed to the district of Hoogkerk and expected to play an important role in the local energy transition process, is not perceived as such by the participants. We argue that these insights can support policymakers and the local citizen initiative towards the development of an integrated local energy vision taking into account the diverse viewpoints of Hoogkerk’s citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Jun 2022


  • local energy transition
  • Q-methodology
  • social renters
  • public engagement
  • co-ownership


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