Renewable energy communities advance across Europe
23 February 2023
Renewable energy communities are in fashion - according to many of the participants at last month’s ‘Advancing renewable energy communities in Europe: Affordable energy. Local ownership. Resilience’, conference held in ICLEI Member Brussels (Belgium). The concepts of local ownership, collective self-consumption and energy sharing are increasing in popularity throughout Europe, and often seen as an answer to the current energy crisis. Hosted in the Museum of Natural Sciences, the conference brought together over 80 energy community stakeholders, municipalities, policy-makers and academics to discuss the findings and key results of the COME RES project, of which ICLEI Europe was a partner organisation.
The topics of the sessions ranged from policy debates on how to best enable renewable energy communities for a just transition, to lessons learned from the transfer of certain elements of best practice energy communities across borders. Participants also had the opportunity to exchange directly with representatives from the nine project country desks – from Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Latvia, The Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Italy and Norway. During this lively exercise participants discussed how the concept is perceived, their success stories, as well as local obstacles faced in promoting energy communities in their regions.
The event was also an opportunity to share the findings of the project via its final publication, (available in all eight project languages), which includes ‘spotlights’ on innovative solutions for promoting renewable energy communities for a more resilient energy system.
Despite numerous acknowledgements that renewable energy communities are on the rise, it was clear that many changes – not least those highlighted in the long and clear list of policy recommendations - are needed from all stakeholders involved to ensure that renewable energy communities stay in fashion not only for the niche, but also for mainstream society.
Image (COME RES) by "Lucy Russell"