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Conceptualising energy prosumption: exploring energy production, consumption and microgeneration in Scotland, UK

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Environment and Planning A
Issue number10
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)1988-2005
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date10/05/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Energy prosumption has become a common phrase as more householders and communities are producing and consuming their own electricity and heat. Prosumption is a combination of two words: production and consumption, and emerged as a concept at a time when consumers were beginning to be more proactive and take over steps traditionally thought of as ‘production’. In many ways, energy prosumption is nothing new (e.g. wood combustion), yet development of our modern energy system has changed the relationships between energy producers and consumers (e.g. smart meters, renewable energy production). Thus, there is a growing body of research interested in the motivation and conditions for the uptake of microgeneration technologies and the implications to energy infrastructures and big energy producers. However, this ‘energy prosumption’ scholarship generally lacks a strong conceptual foundation and misses the opportunity to build on existing prosumption literature and related debates. This paper brings the wealth of literature on prosumption into the energy context and reflects on the insights offered by a prosumption lens. Our study explores a particular manifestation of prosumption – when a household is simultaneously a producer and consumer of their heat and/or electricity via microgeneration – and we present data from semi-structured interviews with 28 households living with microgeneration technologies in Scotland, UK. Thus, we provide a robust framework from which future research on household and community energy prosumption can build.

Bibliographic note

This work was funded by Economic and Social Research Council (grant number ES/K009516/1), Carnegie Trust (31680) and a PhD studentship at the University of St Andrews.