Local communities, including citizens, local authorities, cooperatives and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are uniquely impacted by the ongoing energy crisis. And yet, they also have a large role to play in providing solutions as active participants in the energy transition. Nevertheless, their ability to take ownership and play a meaningful role in removing Europe’s reliance on imported fossil energy and building up renewable energy production relies heavily on the design of the internal energy market.

It is, therefore, unfortunate that the Electricity Market Design has been primarily framed around interventions in the wholesale market. Defining the scope of the problem and the potential solutions around centralised exchanges of energy ignores the role that alternative ways of exchanging electricity through local ownership of production and supply can play in hedging consumers against volatility during the crisis, as we move to a 100% renewables future.

The Electricity Market Design may be meant to address the acute impacts of the crisis being felt today. However, it must also put in place the building blocks for creating a more decentralized and democratized energy market of tomorrow. Keeping spirit with the original Energy Union Strategy articulated in 2015, the Market Design must put citizens at its core, where they can take ownership at the local level (individually, through energy communities such as cooperatives, and local authorities), benefit from technology to reduce their bills, participate in the market, and protect vulnerable households.

In the context of the upcoming Electricity Market Design reforms, REScoop.eu has formulated recommendations for the European Commission in a consultation response as well as in a position paper.