Citizen participation in the energy transition represents significant potential investment. The new Clean Energy Package (CEP), and its resulting EU legal framework to support ‘citizens’ and ‘renewable’ energy communities, as well as renewables self-consumption, should contribute towards meeting this potential.
The existing EIB lending policy will need to be amended to fit the new context of the CEP, including its intent to ensure citizens can participate both individually and collectively through energy communities across the energy market. The CEP explicitly acknowledges the unique characteristics of energy communities, citing them as providing added value in terms of different environmental, economic and social benefits, as well as challenges in operating in the market.
Citizens and communities face unique challenges in investing in renewables, energy efficiency and other clean energy technologies, compared to larger commercial enterprises. In order to promote a democratic energy system, the EIB will need to ensure that its lending policy guidelines acknowledge these differences, and should help smaller and non-traditional market actors to access EU funds on a level playing field with other traditional market actors.
To ensure that the EIB's Energy Lending Criteria supports Europe's long-term decarbonisation objectives as well as energy democracy in the energy transition, in revising its Energy Lending Criteria, the EIB should:
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