Local stakeholders central to advancing community energy

17 Jan 23

Local stakeholders central to advancing community energy

Community energy stakeholders have played an essential role throughout the COME RES project, as highlighted in the latest report ‘D3.3 Final Consolidated Summary Report of Desk Activities in the Target Regions’. This report summarises the activities undertaken by all nine stakeholder country desks and reflects on the importance of stakeholders’ involvement for long-term success, beyond the lifetime of the project.

One of the objectives of COME RES is to initiate, engage and feedback with major stakeholders and market actors. In all participating countries these have been actively involved in regular solution-oriented stakeholder dialogues to co-create solutions to overcome existing barriers for the growth of community energy and setting up an enabling framework. Throughout the project lifetime, the country desks ensured wide engagement of market actors and stakeholders and created new or reinforced existing networks. Dialogues with major stakeholders in thematic workshops, policy labs and dedicated stakeholder consultations helped to address critical barriers and drivers for RECs in each target region, to identify and select good/best practices and to derive policy recommendations. The stakeholders involved in the desks accompanied all work phases and tasks, provided advice, and supported the dissemination of the results. Although there are stakeholder groups that are present in each country, there are some stakeholder groups that are more influential in one country than in another or that are specific to a country (e.g. ethnic minorities). Moreover, the activities of the country desks varied from country to country according to the regional needs while being inspired by the same specific objectives.

The engagement of local stakeholders in the so-called target regions represented a valuable resource especially when identifying and discussing major hurdles and the possibilities to co-create solutions in order to overcome existing barriers. They acknowledged the benefits for growth of community energy in their regions by learning from the experience of other COME RES countries and by discussing the chance of implementing best-practices initiated elsewhere. The final consolidated report of the country desk activities comprises all the activities performed within the COME RES country desks between September 2020 and December 2022.  The report highlights the relevance of the desk activities in the respective country/regional context, and how they gave impetus to  other project activities and the national and regional policy formulations in fostering enabling frameworks for renewable energy communities.

At the end of the project, there are positive signals that the infrastructure set up with the establishment of the country desks, could continue after the end of the project and that ways for further cooperations could be found. The core stakeholders in almost all country desks pledged that they would seize all the opportunities to ensure the continuation of the networks. Actions plans have been sketched for Italy, Latvia, Spain and Portugal. These activities received the input and endorsement from key players and market actors of the target regions. The signature of three Memoranda of Understanding demonstrate the sustainability of the actions beyond lifetime of COME RES.

Image: Dr Rosaria Di Nucci

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