The EU has identified energy communities (ECs) as an important vehicle towards achieving our 2030 and 2050 goals. The definition of “renewable energy community” (REC) according to the revised Renewable energy directive ((EU) 2018/2001) and the definition of “citizen energy community” (CEC) according to the Directive on common rules for the internal electricity market ((EU) 2019/944) have ushered a new age for the inclusion of citizens in the energy transition.
Clean Energy for all Europeans
The purpose of ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ is to provide a level playing field and allow energy communities to compete in the energy market with other market actors. The different Member States are required to transpose the directives and develop adequate support frameworks. Although these directives for Energy Communities are very progressive and with good intentions, their transposition by member states is slow and often unclear to the wider public. In addition, juridical and market related challenges prevent them from being widely implemented on the ground, by the very people they were meant to serve, the EU citizens. At a time, when throughout Europe and the world electricity prices are skyrocketing, people are becoming more and more disillusioned and confused about the future of energy and need a local reason and inspiration to become involved.
Goals of the TANDEMS project
In the TANDEMS project we are proposing that energy cooperatives, with their ICA principles, expertise and ability to engage people on a grassroots level, are the right vehicles to foster burgeoning Citizens Energy Communities (CECs) and Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) to maturity. In order to achieve this, local authorities need to commit to and foster this collaboration. Starting from the development of an open collaboration model, we will demonstrate how new and closer partnerships between cities/regions and energy cooperatives can lead to a region-wide supporting framework for community energy, one that can be widely replicated in EU regions. The TANDEMS project brings together three European regions from different starting blocks and speeds, different cultural backgrounds and conditions but working towards the same goal: the empowerment and facilitation of citizens to participate in the clean energy transition. These regions are the province of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium, the region of Achterhoek in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands and 2 municipalities, Burgas and Gabrovo, in diverse regions in Bulgaria. In TANDEMS key partners will demonstrate the potential of a streamlined collaboration, in tandem and ensure uptake in other regions in Europe.
Role of EnergyVille / VITO
EnergyVille / VITO is responsible for developing the blueprint design of an open collaboration model for energy communities. This open collaboration model will be based on a value-centred approach (beyond purely financial values) and the roles played by different actors in realising this added value. Value networks rendered in maps make the roles and value transfers within an existing or envisioned system tangible for all. The research of existing value networks will result in a description of roles and relationships of organisations, partners and suppliers, including the flow of for example goods, information and money, as well as ‘intangibles’ such as knowledge, trust or guarantees to support the achievement of specific outcomes in terms of generating economic and social outcomes. Different collaboration scenarios will be tested out on a selection of opportunities identified by the TANDEMS implementation sites. Next to this, EnergyVille / VITO will monitor and evaluate the impact of local energy communities in TANDEMS. The monitoring and evaluation will refer to conditions for REC development as stipulated in the RED II and will enable energy communities to assess the environmental, economic and social implications of their activity in relation to concerned shareholders and the members of the local community.