Three is a crowd? Exploring the potential of crowdfunding for renewable energy in the Netherlands

E. Vasileiadou, J. C.C.M. Huijben, R.P.J.M. Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


There is a huge gap between demand and supply of finance for energy transitions, and the financial and economic crisis have had a negative impact in the already meagre funds for transforming the energy system towards renewable sources. In this paper we explore whether crowdfunding for renewable energy, as a novel sociotechnical practice developed in a niche, has the potential to break through and transform both the energy and the financial regimes, utilising the Multi-Level Perspective theory. We empirically investigate crowdfunding platforms linked to renewable electricity projects in the Netherlands. The main conclusion is that the volume of crowdfunding today is low, but the dynamic of these projects holds potential. There is limited indication of learning processes until now, as well as limited support from regime actors, pointing at a low level of niche stabilization and break-through potential, which may however be related to the early stage of development of crowdfunding in the Netherlands. On the other hand, the heterogeneity of crowdfunders is very promising. Platforms dedicated to renewable electricity exclusively, and with an investment based business model seem to be the most successful. We show how governmental market regulation and support mechanisms are shaping crowdfunding as a business model, and discuss the implications for other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Business models
  • Crowdfunding
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Up-scaling

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