Recent scholarly attention shows that grassroots civil society low-carbon energy initiatives increasingly become part of the subnational climate change governance landscape. Despite their potency in view of consumer-owned distributed generation and enhanced citizen influence in the organization of the energy infrastructure, local low-carbon energy initiatives (LLCEIs) struggle to become viable alternatives to the centralized, private oriented energy system. To further LLCEI development, support needs to build their capacities; alleviate institutional hurdles and barriers stemming from the fossil fuel-based energy regime; and open up the system for the uptake, acceptance or breakthrough of LLCEIs. Evidence suggests that so-called “intermediaries” form a part of the solution in addressing these issues. Despite previous attempts at analyzing intermediary roles and activities vis-à-vis the development of community energy, the reality of the various roles and strategies intermediaries can employ and the support LLCEIs require to further develop have not yet been synthesized in a comprehensive analytical framework. This article aims to fill this gap by developing such a framework. We reflect on the analytical framework by evaluating the intermediary support structure in a specific case: the Province of Fryslân. From the analysis, we conclude that the Frisian case provided modest support to the claim that intermediary support is effective in addressing the needs of LLCEIs as the strategies and roles observed represent a complete and coherent support structure.
Keywords: intermediary; community energy; grassroots innovations; endogenous development; strategic niche management; asset-based community development; business incubator