|dc.identifier.citation||Ford, R., Whitaker, J., & Stephenson, J. (2016). Prosumer collectives: a review (Project Report). Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/6646||en
|dc.description||he authors would like to acknowledge the Smart Grid Forum for funding this research. They also acknowledge the
aligned GREEN Grid research project, funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), with
co-funding from Transpower and the Electricity Engineers’ Association.
We also acknowledge our reviewers, John Hancock and Gerry Carrington.||en_NZ
|dc.description.abstract||The widespread growth globally of micro-generation (particularly PV) means that consumers are
interacting with electricity systems in new ways, becoming ‘energy prosumers’ – both producing
and consuming energy.
We define an energy prosumer as “a consumer of energy who also produces energy to provide for their
needs, and who in the instance of their production exceeding their requirements, will sell, store or trade
the surplus energy”.
Growing prosumerism has the potential to create challenges for grid management, particularly
if local generation becomes concentrated within a part of a lines network, which can particularly
occur with the establishment of prosumer collectives.
For this report we reviewed international and NZ articles and reports on this phenomenon, to
understanding how and why consumers were adopting microgeneration, and ways in which
prosumer collectives are emerging.
In considering how people become prosumers, we found it useful to differentiate between ‘active
prosumers’ whose decision to adopt microgeneration is self-directed and purposeful, and ‘passive
prosumers’ whose entry is the result of external influences or the by-product of other decisions.
The shift to becoming a prosumer creates many opportunities for people to become more actively
engaged with the role of energy in their lives, which opens the door for collective engagement.
We reviewed different forms of prosumer collectives in the UK, North America, Europe and
Australasia. From these we identified that different models of prosumer collectives are emerging
depending on whether the collective was initiated by a community or third party, and whether the
microgeneration facility is on a focal site (e.g. a wind turbine cluster) or multiple sites (e.g. PV on
many houses in a community).
A further influence is the emergence of new business models and smart technologies that enable
prosumers to manage energy production and consumption on a personal and collective level.
Some businesses now offer peer-to-peer platforms that enable power-sharing within a microgrid,
as well as supporting spatially dispersed collective engagement. For example, prosumers who
have surplus power can sell or exchange it directly with others.
We identified and named five models of collective prosumerism: multi-site community initiatives;
focal-site community initiatives; multi-site third-party initiatives; focal-site third-party initiatives; and
dispersed-site third-party initiatives. The common theme is that multiple non-traditional players are
consciously engaging with each other in generating and sharing energy and/or the proceeds of
We identify a range of drivers, barriers and enablers to collective prosumerism. The decreasing
cost of microgeneration and storage is a significant driver, along with aspirations for greater
independence, control, sustainability and community cohesion.
Both community and third-party developments are largely initiated by organisations that have not
traditionally been part of the electricity industry. If the industry ignores or attempts to suppress this
emerging interest by consumers in collective prosumerism, it may find itself becoming increasingly
irrelevant in the lives of electricity users.||en_NZ
|dc.publisher||Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago||en_NZ
|dc.rights||Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International||*
|dc.subject||models of collective prosumerism||en_NZ
|dc.subject||drivers to collective prosumerism||en_NZ
|dc.title||Prosumer collectives: a review||en_NZ
|otago.school||Centre for Sustainability, Energy||en_NZ
|dc.rights.statement||Copyright The Authors||en_NZ