• What we do

    Energy Democracy

    Europe’s energy market is undergoing a fundamental transition from a system based on fossil fuels and nuclear power towards one based entirely on renewable energy.

    It is also transforming from a centralised market dominated by large utilities to a decentralised market with millions of active energy citizens or “prosumers”. Without prosumers, the energy transition is not possible. Empowering citizens to produce and consume their own energy is about democratising the energy system.


    However, prosumers still face significant legal obstacles throughout the European Union including explicit legal restrictions, disproportionate administrative and planning procedures and punitive tariffs. With the right EU legal framework, prosumers could flourish and deliver a significant share of Europe’s renewable energy and provide important flexibility to the energy system through demand response. Already today, prosumers such as communities and cooperatives have transformed the energy market in many European countries while contributing significantly to revitalising the local economy and creating local jobs. Prosumers deliver a significant share of renewables investment and promote their local development and public support. In Germany for example, renewables deliver a third of Germany’s electricity and nearly every second kilowatt-hour (kWh) of this renewable electricity is generated by a broad range of prosumers.
     

    This energy transition will require a considerable investment that will be paid for by citizens: as consumers, as tax payers or as money savers. Citizens therefore should be at the heart of this energy transition. They should have control of their energy production, transportation, distribution and their energy supply. REScoop.eu strongly believes that renewable energy cooperatives are ideal partners to lead the energy transition to energy democracy.

  • Advocacy work

    REScoop.eu supports the energy transition to a decentralized, renewable, efficient, clean and sustainable energy system with citizens at its core. We refer to the energy transition as “the energy transition to energy democracy.” We believe that REScoops are the most appropriate business model to keep this transition fair and affordable for citizens, and to make sure no one is left behind. REScoop.eu follows up on relevant policy issues and organizes regular meetings with European policy makers.

  • Our policy priorities

    As a federation representing REScoops working on renewables, energy efficiency, and other emerging technologies across the EU, our goal is to bring about a European energy market in which:

    • Citizens are encouraged to think beyond their own energy needs and to care for their local community
    • All citizens, particularly those that are vulnerable or who are experiencing energy poverty, have access to clean renewable energy at transparent and fair prices
    • Citizens and REScoops are encouraged guaranteed a right to produce, store, supply and use energy from local renewable energy sources, and to access markets on an equal playing field with larger actors
    • Acknowledgment of the role of REScoops in contributing towards the social economy, and employment, social cohesion, regional and rural development, and environmental protection objectives.
    • A level playing field for new business models that adopt alternative governance and ownership principles from traditional commercial energy companies (like REScoops) that protects against power abuse by incumbents 
    • The benefits of activities of citizens and REScoops to the local energy system, society and the environment are properly valued and remunerated
    • Citizens and REScoops are encouraged to own and operate distribution grids [and transmission lines]
    • Rules on priority grid access for renewable energy are maintained, in particular for smaller actors (including REScoops), and are properly implemented and enforced
    • A clear and stable legislative framework reduces complexity, costs and risks of investment in renewables and energy efficiency
    • Energy prices never include hidden (social) costs, nor potential risks that are passed on to future generations
    • Solidarity and trust among all stakeholders is enhanced
    • Transparency, minimal but strong regulation and oversight, as well as fair opportunities for citizen participation, are supported
  • The benefits that energy communities provide

    Because of REScoops’ aims to include and empower all citizens to participate, and their concern for the well-being of the local community, they provide a number of benefits to society, the consumer, the environment, and the energy system as a whole.

    • Society - REScoops aim to maximize local value to support the social and economic welfare of the local communities in which they operate. It has been proven that community-owned windfarms in Germany generate eight times more local added value than commercially-owned projects. Many projects also have a social aim, which include support of community infrastructure, improving energy efficiency in public buildings, and fighting against energy poverty. Local ownership also promotes a circular local economy, where profits are kept within the community to promote other objectives of the energy transition, such as energy savings measures and building renovations. Finally, involvement in a REScoop empowers citizens involved locally and to engage with others in the community.
       
    • The Consumer – REScoops provide consumers with the choice of using locally produced renewable energy at the fairest price. Ecopower, a REScoop supplier in Flanders, is regularly awarded for the fairest billing structure of any supplier in the region. In Denmark, district heating networks that are community-owned are also cheaper than district heating networks that are owned by municipalities or private companies. When the community owns the infrastructure, any benefits or savings are passed on to the members, meaning directly to the consumer.
       
    • The environment – citizen participation in the energy system helps people get involved in the fight against climate change. REScoops encourage citizens to uptake of renewables and take actions to reduce their energy consumption. REScoops can also help improve local attitudes and acceptance towards renewable energy in their area, because they give citizens a chance to participate economically and politically.
       
    • The energy system – Working through their members, REScoops can help DSOs operate their networks more flexibly, safely and efficiently, even as more renewables comes onto the system. REScoops can encourage their members to adopt ‘smarter’ consumption habits and uptake technologies that can provide more flexibility to the grid, such as storage including electric vehicles, and they can aggregate demand response or provide other services to the local grid. In the long run, these activities and services can help DSOs save costs (e.g. through avoided system losses, voltage support, avoided or deferred upgrades to infrastructure, improved resiliency, reduced environmental impacts, etc), ultimately benefiting the system and the consumer.
  • Definitions Matter

    As Europe is working on a new energy market design, REScoop.eu has developed a number of key points for how REScoops need to be acknowledged in any future legislative and regulatory frameworks:

    ACTIVE CUSTOMERS

    Active customers, referred to generically as ‘energy prosumers’, are individual citizens, households, non-commercial organisations, public entities and SME’s that not only consume energy, but also actively participate in the energy market, either individually or collectively, including through an ‘energy community’. Active participation in the market may consist in producing renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency and/or energy system management and grid integration of fluctuating renewable energy sources through demand side response, aggregation, storage, etc. REScoop.eu believes that active customers should get easy access to the grid and to energy markets at fair conditions. In addition, we argue that EU Member States should endorse the participation of active customers in various markets (adapted grid tariffs, fiscal reduction, ...).

    SELF-CONSUMPTION

    Self-consumption is the act for prosumers to consume all or part of the energy produced by installation(s) they own individually or through an energy community. REScoop.eu argues that Europe should promote the right to self-consumption for both tenants and owners of private houses. We argue that Europe should allow citizens, including through an energy company, to establish closed distribution networks that are currently provided for under Article 28 of Directive 2009/72/EC. REScoop.eu believes that EU Member States should ensure fair valuation, as well as a fair price and market access for surplus of energy that is injected into the grid, and that energy prices should be directly linked to energy consumption consumed (variable cost), rather than to the capacity installed (fixed costs) because it encourages energy efficiency.

    ENERGY COMMUNITY

    An Energy Community is a legal entity where citizens, SMEs and local authorities come together, as final users of energy, to cooperate in the generation, consumption distribution, storage, supply, aggregation of energy from renewable sources, or offer energy efficiency/demand side management services. REScoop.eu argues that Europe should recognise that energy communities contribute to social innovation and regional development objectives, as defined by the Commission. The definition of an energy community should be framed concretely around governing statutes of entities that integrate the following operative principles that distinguish them from traditional commercial energy undertakings:

     

    1. Concern for community – the aim of the undertaking is to provide economic, social and environmental benefits for their members or the local area or areas where they are active, rather than being profit driven
    2. Provide for open, voluntary participation - Membership in a cooperative is open to all persons as final users of its services and that are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
    3. Democratic governance of the undertaking – direct democratic governance based on equal decision making rights (i.e. one-person-one-vote)
    4. Autonomy and independence – the undertaking is controlled by the members or shareholders who are participating as final users; outside investors or undertakings participating in the community must not have a controlling position within the board
  • A level playing field for energy communities and active customers

    We also advocate for a transformation away from existing regulations, rules and policies, which have been designed for a centralized energy system and large energy companies that provide polluting fossil fuels and other inflexible baseload. At the core of this shift towards a more decentralized energy model, we advocate for:

    • A special bike lane for energy communities that focus on renewable energy generation so they can access support schemes in accordance with the State Aid Guidelines.
    • Recognition of the need to account for the particularities of REScoops and other smaller actors when it comes to grid access, dispatch, balancing (both responsibility and market access), licensing and registration, and unbundling obligations.
    • Acknowledgment of the benefits that activities of citizens and REScoops have for the local energy system, society and the environment, as well as proper proper valuation and remuneration for services provided locally that can displace the need to invest in traditional grid infrastructure
All Posts
×