New Governance Models for Next Generation Infrastructure (NeGoM)

This research project takes as a starting point the necessity for decentralised decision making: that decisions need to be made at the most appropriate level within an organisation, close to the stakeholders involved, near those with the best information. This project’s main objective is to develop models for Societal Governance of Infrastructures, where local communities or possibly individual households have more influence on the regulatory framework of infrastructures. Given that circumstances vary widely with respect to the types of stakeholders, the social interests that are at stake and the level in society in which they occur, we expect to find a need for different governance processes for different issues. However, the distribution company also needs to have a transparent and consistent decision making process, so the analysis will include the question of how to combine these objectives. An important issue in this research is the role of the national government, not only because it is an important stakeholder – the distribution networks will play an important role in the national energy transition – but also because it sets the regulatory constraints within which distribution companies operate. The current regulatory framework has a strong focus on economic efficiency, whereas the social goals are shifting towards innovation needed for the energy transition. Finally, regulation can be used to facilitate forms of societal governance, or may be necessary to guarantee things like minimum service levels.

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