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Anticipating distributional impacts of peer-to-peer energy trading: Inference from a realist review of evidence on Airbnb

20 April, 2021

Anticipating distributional impacts of peer-to-peer energy trading: Inference from a realist review of evidence on Airbnb

Michael Fell

Research paper   Policy & Governance

Michael Fell

Abstract

Peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading – where energy prosumers transact directly between each other – could help enable transition to a low-carbon energy system. If it is to be supported in policy and regulation, it is important to anticipate the distributional impacts (or how it might impact segments of society differently). However, real-world evidence on P2P energy trading is currently extremely limited. To address this challenge in the short- to medium-term, this study aimed to explore what might be learned from the extensive body of research on a comparable offering in the accommodation sector: Airbnb. A realist review approach was employed to maximise transferability of findings, focused on what mechanisms are thought to lead to what distributional outcomes, in what contexts. On the basis of the review, participation in P2P energy trading schemes would be expected to represent disproportionately those living in areas with network management challenges, who are younger and more highly educated. This is likely to be moderated by access to generation assets and the kinds of service it is possible to trade. The review also raised the prospect of discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as race and gender where there are high levels of individual choice over who to trade with. Recommendations include monitoring, incentivising diversity, anonymization, limiting some trading choices, and diversifying what can be traded.

Publication details

Fell, M.J. 2021. Anticipating distributional impacts of peer-to-peer energy trading: Inference from a realist review of evidence on Airbnb. Cleaner and Responsible Consumption, 2: 100013. doi: Opens in a new tab10.1016/j.clrc.2021.100013 

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