Mobilising European Citizens to Invest in Sustainable Energy
At the beginning of 2019 Europe had more than 3400 REScoops (Renewable Energy Sources Cooperatives), or as defined in the recent EU-directives, ‘citizen energy communities’. More than a million Europeans are united in these REScoops to jointly invest in the energy transition from fossil and nuclear fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency. There are many more Europeans at home who are also committed to reaching this goal in their daily lives. They are investing in insulation, solar water heaters, in photovoltaic panels(PV panels), electrical mobility, …
Five REScoops from four countries teamed up with their European federation REScoop.eu in the framework of the European Horizon 2020 programme run by EASME.
Between December 2015 and February 2019 they achieved the goals set in their Project Development Assistance (PDA) project, called REScoop MECISE (‘Renewable Energy Cooperatives Mobilising European Citizens to Invest in Sustainable Energy’) and created tools for themselves and other groups of citizens to accelerate the energy transition.
This project ran in parallel with the process of designing new EU-directives on energy: the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. This recognised EU citizens and their collective projects were essential stakeholders in tackling Climate Change. The report also highlights how the project partners responded to this.
The project allowed the partner-REScoops not only to accelerate their efforts in RE and to link these projects to EE but also to provide citizens, citizen energy communities and local authorities with good practices, permanent tools and a legal EU framework to allow them to accelerate the Energy Transition and help to keep Climate Change under control from bottom up.
The partners of the REScoop MECISE project are convinced that increased investments in sustainable energy and a stronger involvement of European citizens are needed to achieve the transition to renewable energy. This is why REScoops in Europe are advocating for a democratic energy transition. They believe a decentralized ownership of projects encourages greater acceptance of renewable energy and benefits local communities.
This model has proven its environmental, economic and social added value, but still too few renewable energy installations are owned by citizen energy communities in Europe. Whilst the actions and contributions of REScoops are increasingly recognised in national and European policies and regulations, this model is still struggling to develop in some European countries.
The time for action is now and community ownership is a key part of achieving a fair energy transition across Europe.
Project partners: Ecopower, Som Energia, Enercoop, Energy4All, Courant d’air, REScoop.eu