Can we develop at least one renewable energy community (REC) per municipality above 10,000 residents by 2025? The EU Solar Energy Strategy claims we can. In light of the current energy crisis and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the relevance of energy security and owning our own energy supplies has become increasingly apparent, with more and more citizens turning to the concept of energy communities to realise their visions. So what is stopping them? Are the necessary tools and support systems available? What policies, framework conditions and financing opportunities need to be in place to enable the citizens of Europe to reach the goals laid out in the Solar Energy Strategy? These were the questions debated at last month’s Sustainable Energy Day ‘1 Municipality – 1 REC: can it be done?’, held within the framework of the European Sustainable Energy Week.
The event, co-hosted by COME RES and sister energy community projects, was well attended by representatives of energy communities, research institutes, public authorities and the European Commission. The event began with a welcome from the hosts, a keynote speech by Achille Hannoset, (Policy Officer, European Commission, DG ENER) on renewable energy communities as key to increasing the acceptance of renewables as well as consumer consciousness, and a presentation from Michael Krug (Researcher, Freie Universität Berlin) on the current status of enabling frameworks for renewable energy communities in Europe. Next, the participants carried out a reality check on the current situation and future potential of the EU’s energy communities through dynamic interaction during a round table discussion and interactive marketplace sessions, as well as in break-out groups. Throughout, participants emphasized the importance of speeding up member state transpositions of renewable energy directives, engaging youth, businesses and ensuring the support from local municipalities to enable energy communities to develop on the required large-scale.
For more details on the speakers and detailed topics covered, read the agenda.