's reaction on the EU renovation wave strategy

On the 14th of October, the European Commission, headed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, presented their renovation wave strategy, which aims to support plans to cut emissions from buildings and reduce energy bills. The goal is to at least double the annual energy renovation rate, which would help to reduce energy consumption in the buildings sector by 14% compared to 2015., as a member of the Coalition for Energy Savings, welcomes this commitment. Delivering the renovation wave will bring immediate benefits for citizens and help strengthen the EU’s 2030 energy efficiency target. However, doubts remain around the lack of a dedicated funding instrument. You can find the press release of the Coalition for Energy Savings here →

As the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives, we specifically welcome the support for "developing neighbourhood-based approaches for local communities to integrate renewable and digital solutions and create zero-energy districts, where consumers become prosumers selling energy to the grid."

The cooperative movement has long been implementing a vision of the energy efficiency first principle, through three pillars: efficiency, sobriety and solidarity. Cooperatives have been implementing programs to support their members to transform our energy system.

The renovation wave finally recognises the role of energy communities and its citizens as one of the pillars supporting ambitious renovation targets. For years already, energy cooperatives have rolled out various citizen-led renovation programmes to engage citizens to lower consumption and to retrofit their homes in a safe and efficient manner. Increasingly, energy cooperatives support members and the community at large to trigger deep renovations projects, providing advice and other forms of assistance to citizens and local authorities. They also have a unique track record of supporting collective decision making and mobilising local investment. Finally, energy cooperatives are a reliable partner empowering the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Group of citizens with their solar installation in Brixton (UK). © Brixton Solar Community

However, it is important for the European Commission to also addresses regulatory and financing barriers for energy communities contributing to Europe’s renovation wave. Therefore, we call upon the commissioner and her team to provide significant funding sources scaled for and accessible to communities, so that their work can continue and accelerate. Just like Energy Cities, we call for mandatory energy performance standards to be paired with support at the neighbourhood level, and for collective action models to be deployed across Member States.

By aiming for ambitious renovation targets, boosting recovery and reducing energy poverty, Europe must put the citizen at the core of the renovation wave.