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Title: The role of social enterprise in the renewable energy sector
Author: Morrison, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 4778
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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Social entrepreneurship has received increasing attention over the past few decades. This thesis examines social enterprises within one particular context, namely the community-led renewable energy sector. Despite the importance placed on these initiatives, little is known about the way in which they are developed and managed. Utilising theories of social entrepreneurship and innovation, it examines the challenges and key success factors that impact on their development and evaluates the role social enterprises play in the adoption and diffusion of renewable energy. Using a qualitative, case study approach the study presents and discusses findings drawn from 13 social enterprises across Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Evidence is derived from 37 semi­structured interviews, observational notes and a range of secondary information. A number of important conclusions can be drawn. Significantly the research contributes to the understanding of community energy in Northern Ireland and Ireland. To date these regions have been virtually ignored within the literature. The study also provides evidence of the many differing approaches that exist in the operation and management of community energy schemes. Alongside this a number of interlinking factors have been uncovered that impact on their development, in particular the importance of social and cultural aspects on this process. As a result, the study recommends that consideration be shown to the uniqueness of each area and context before attempting to replicate these schemes. Practitioners and policy makers alike can benefit from these insights. Theoretically the study confirms and extends theories relating to social entrepreneurship and innovation. It has shown how within the context of renewable energy, social enterprises can be viewed as significant actors in the adoption and diffusion process. Furthermore it provides insight into areas that have to date been underexplored, notably development of community energy business models.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available