If Europe wants to achieve the energy transition and ultimately climate neutrality, change must happen locally and in a more inclusive way. Empowering citizens and communities is central to the success of the European Green Deal as well as in speeding up the EU recovery efforts. It will support putting solidarity at the heart of the recovery.
The Clean Energy for all Europeans package represents an important step towards building a legal and policy framework that recognises citizens as a driving force of the energy transition. For the first time, EU legislation officially defines Energy Communities as key actors in empowering consumers and in speeding up the energy transition. It provides them with a clear set of rights and obligations and calls for Member States to design enabling frameworks supporting their development.
The concept of Energy Communities refers to collective actions, offering new ways for citizens to participate in the energy system and to take ownership. They can bring direct benefits to consumers and the community, facilitating the uptake and use of clean energy solutions while generating local jobs and supporting local SMEs and economic growth. They aim to realise a fair and more inclusive energy transition and effectively fight climate change. In this context, fit-for-purpose transposition into national law will be essential for the successful development of energy communities.
The purpose of this session is to raise awareness on the opportunities offered to citizens when participating in Energy Communities as well as how it can contribute to the recovery efforts. It will further inform the ongoing debate on what needs to be done to create an enabling environment for the development of Energy Communities, looking at opportunities and challenges for specific territories such as islands, rural and urban areas. The respective intervention will accordingly focus on:
– The framework for Energy Communities in EU legislation;
– What socio-economic benefits do Energy Communities bring to citizens and territories;
– Best practices from existing communities and stakeholders’ recommendations; reflecting the opportunities and challenges of specific territories such as islands, rural and urban areas.