All over Europe, the energy revolution is gaining momentum. Individuals, communities, cities and local authorities are at the vanguard of Europe’s energy transition: they are increasingly controlling and producing their own renewable energy, and fostering the transition to fairer, democratic and decentralised energy.
Now, for the first time, EU legislation (the Electricity Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive) acknowledges citizens and communities as distinct actors in the energy transition. It provides them with definitions (i.e. renewables self-consumers, active customers and renewable/citizens energy communities), a clear set of rights and obligations, and requirements for national level support to promote their develoment.
Now the important question is: How do we unleash the power of community renewable energy? Energy communities are new to many people, and citizens are not aware of their opportunities or the new EU rules. The purpose of this event is to help citizens, NGOs, business, grid operators, regulators, and national decision makers better understand implications of the new EU legislative provisions.
The session will present concrete examples of how citizens are taking ownership in the energy transition, by becoming active renewables self-consumers and setting up citizens and renewable energy communities to address local needs. In particular, this session will highlight a project called Smart Energy Region Emmen-Haren, which brings together two neighboring municipalities situated in the border area of Northern Germany and Northern Netherlands. This project would connect German-Dutch distribution electricity grid, creating a regional electricity market in order to match supply and demand of renewable energy on a regional scale and cross border. It would allow for efficient use of renewables, avoid grid congestion and system costs, promote energy self-sufficiency, and keep the economic benefits of renewables within the region.
Then, in a participative roundtable discussion, citizens, cooperatives and cities representatives will share their perspectives what new EU legislation offers them, including challenges and opportunities. Industry representatives and national level decision makers will also provide their perspectives and their ways forward.
This event is co-organised by the Community Energy Coalition, which is composed of environmental NGOs, associations of cities, local authorities, cooperatives, and other EU level renewables industry associations. Since 2012, the Community Energy Coalition has acted as a plaform to exchange experiences and knowledge, raise awareness among political EU decision makers, and to get explicit recognition of community EU energy in climate legislation to enable citizens and communities to take ownership of renewables in the energy transition.