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Swarm Economy - Developing a Network Economy within a Bottom-Up Renewable Electricity Infrastructure

Research proposal by Raluca Dumitrescu

Authors: Raluca Dumitrescu, Sebastian Groh

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Universal access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy is necessary to achieve inclusive socioeconomic development and climate friendly economic development. Swarm electrification proposes a paradigm shift within the spectrum of bottom-up electrification approaches, as it manages to take into account the crucial third agent, in whose name development is carried out: people organized as communities and collectives, people seen not only as beneficiaries of the state or consumers of private services, but as drivers of their own destiny, empowered to self-provision basic needs and to govern from below. Through the swarm physical infrastructure, households can interconnect themselves, tapping into the existing energy infrastructure and building step by step a bottom-up grid. A "swarm" of prosumers is able to share surplus electricity among each other and supply for different loads and usage patterns, while the overall capacity can be increased dynamically in a modular way. Therefore, renewable electricity becomes a tradable, measurable and quantifiable good; it becomes a bartered good with immediate usage. This research seeks to characterize the attributes of the renewable electricity traded among users in a swarm infrastructure, whilst defining the complexity of a swarm economy, a network-based economy developed within a bottom-up electricity infrastructure.




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