Learning from the experts - German stakeholders visit energy communities in the Netherlands
14 Jul 22
Renewable energy communities are spreading across Europe, and relevant stakeholders from the COME RES project have been sharing experiences among regions, and learning which success factors they can transfer from one energy community to another. On 29 - 30 June 2022 representatives from Thuringia, Germany, travelled to Noord-Brabant and Gelderland, Netherlands, to visit and learn from three Dutch best practice energy communities, which had been preselected as suitable in terms of transferring success factors to Thuringia. The group visited the ‘Energy Gardens’, the citizen wind farm ‘de Spinder’ and the community virtual power plant in Loenen.
The visit involved exchanging knowledge and expertise about establishing and further developing best practice cases for renewable energy communities. The so-called ‘Transfer Team’ represented a balanced mix of different technical and socio-scientific competences including engineering, economics, political and administration science as well as law. In addition to the COME RES partners Freie Universität Berlin and ICLEI Europe, the Transfer Team included experts from key stakeholders in the German Desk, including the Thuringian Energy and GreenTech Agency with its wind energy and solar energy service centres, the Thuringian citizen/community energy association (BürgerEnergie Thüringen e.V.), a member of the Thuringian Parliament, and a board member of the German Alliance for Citizen Energy (Bündnis Bürgerenergie e.V.). On the Dutch side, the Transfer Team included the project partners and colleagues of the Technical University Eindhoven, Natuur en Milieu Gelderland, the process supervisor for the transformation of the former waste disposal site in the Energy Garden De Langenberg, and the Managing Directors of the cooperative Spinderwind and the community virtual power plant Loenen.
In addition to the community visits, presentations of the good and best practices and training modules took place, each focusing on specific aspects. During the training sections for all three good practices, the facilitators used guiding questions and addressed specific needs in Thuringia in the field of community energy. The discussion focused on elements of the best practice cases that appeared particularly relevant for Thuringia, especially considering the aspects that could be more easily transferred or accommodated. Moreover, the team also discussed the most important barriers in Thuringia for a successful transfer of the best practices and how to overcome them.
The COME RES project team will use the lessons learned during this transfer visit as the basis for drafting a roadmap for further development of renewable energy communities in Thuringia. A return visit is planned in the second week in October in Thuringia, where the Transfer Team will address aspects concerning business models.