Renewable energy communities under the Green Deal: Enablers of a socially just transition?

The European Green Deal (EGD) has been presented as “a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use”. Further, the EGD demands that the transition must be “just and inclusive”, putting “people first” and “paying attention to the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges”. In its Climate Law, the EU has formulated an interim target of reducing net GHG emissions by 2030 by at least 55% compared to 1990. In 2021, the Commission launched its ‘Fit for 55 package’, a set of proposals whose aim is to revise and re-align EU legislation with the new climate goals.

The energy transition is expected to particularly affect carbon-intensive economies and regions. With a view to making the transition socially just, the EU has established the Just Transition Mechanism supporting the most affected regions. The ‘Fit for 55 package’ proposes further measures to mitigate the social effects of the transition to carbon neutrality including a Social Climate Fund addressing the impacts of a new emissions trading system for road transport and buildings.

Although the concept of Just Transition is deeply rooted in the trade union movement and initially related to jobs, workers and communities mostly affected by environmental and climate policies, it bears also broader connotations. These encompass other groups of society and also include households and consumers in general and addresses inequalities caused by the energy transition across the board.

Publication Date: 28 Feb 2022

Author: Michael Krug, Maria Rosaria Di Nucci (FUB)