This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) focuses on the power of the consumer to accelerate Europe’s transition to a clean, secure and efficient energy system. Its Power2Consumers theme highlights support for citizens and local authorities setting up power installations and invest in renewables, including both groups more directly in a smart, sustainable economy.
Power2Consumers rests on three elements: shared investment; citizen engagement; and innovative markets and finance.
When citizens and local authorities invest in renewable energy infrastructure, risks and returns are shared more evenly across the sector. Consumer-built installations and citizen-funded finance give more stakeholders a direct interest in renewables’ success.
One sensitive issue is that of new renewables installations – often blocked because of local concerns. Handing control of a project to citizens or including them in other ways can cut regulatory delays for local authorities and promoters since the project becomes an initiative based on local consent.
Innovative market and finance models
New funding models (such as crowdfunding) are playing a growing role in the acceptance and financing of renewable energy. Innovative financial instruments, stable regulation and clear market signals can further encourage investment says the European Commission.
From ideas to action
European initiatives are putting these values into practice. The CITIZENERGY platform, for example, lists renewables projects across Europe in which citizens can invest, along with project ideas and advice. Another is the REScoop network, which supports renewable energy cooperatives through training and online support.
Sign up for the EUSEW Policy Conference by midnight on 8 June!
Voting for the Citizen's Award is close, but you can check out the finalists on the EUSEW Awards page!
Check out the SME ‘Innovation in Energy Efficiency’ session at the Policy Conference!