10/07/2018 - The Netherlands have reached a new Climate Agreement, including a community energy target that requires all new wind and solar projects to be at least 50 percent owned by the local community. "We expect a great acceleration of the development of new renewable energy projects when communities can become owner," says Siward Zomer, representative of ‘Energie Samen’, the sector association of sustainable energy initiatives of citizens and farmers.
The control over and revenues from renewable energy projects where citizens, farmers and local entrepreneurs can attain ownership, benefit directly the local community. This ensures the role of communities as an essential partner in renewable energy projects. A good collaboration between the market and the community can and will accelerate the energy transition.
With the adoption of this ambitious target, the necessary circumstances for the engagement of local communities have been created. Siward Zomer explains: "Now, the communities have to take this opportunity and fulfill their potential. This agreement does not mean that renewable energy projects are offered on a silver platter, we really have to bundle forces and work together."
By stipulating that half of all new renewable energy generation should be produced by citizens, a concrete interpretation is given to one of the main pillars of the new Climate Agreement, namely that the transition to a carbon free electricity system needs to be a democratic transition, giving all citizens the opportunity to participate.
Furthermore, Citizens' organizations will play an important role in the field of energy efficiency and gas-free neighborhoods. As part of the overall agreement, they are committed to implement within three years a transition plan for 500 districts enabling housing without natural gas. To obtain that objective, housing collectives and community initiatives will collaborate with local municipalities and other parties.
The community power movement will soon be represented in all 33 Dutch regions where regional energy strategies are under development. Citizen initiatives will work hard to make sure that the commitments of the Climate Agreement are met, including the 50% ownership of the community - and that the energy projects are carefully integrated in the local community.
Every citizen should get the chance to actively participate in the energy transition. ‘Energie Samen’, together with her constituency, will work hard to encourage everyone to become a member of a renewable energy cooperative or to start a sustainable energy project.
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