Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Energy Community?

Renewable energy communities are grassroots initiatives that invest in ‘clean energy’ in order to meet consumption needs and environmental goals and thereby – often unwittingly – conduce to the spread of renewables.

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What Europe says about Energy Communities?

In its recently released Clean Energy Package, the European Commission finally acknowledged that energy communities – such as cooperatives – have a major role to play in the Europe’s energy transition. This could be a potential game changer for people and communities across the EU.

European Commission has tabled its proposal to reform the EU’s electricity market and better promote the use of renewable energy sources. The EU’s executive body formally acknowledged the reality of the new, multipolar energy market, by providing for the first time a legal recognition for smaller players, ie the citizen cooperatives and other local entities that develop the so-called “community energy” projects

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Why energy communities?

Contributing to renewable energy production leads both to returning energy prices and investment and also fighting climate change.

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What is energy poverty?

Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people* are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort.

Tackling Fuel Poverty in Europe, Recommendations Guide for Policy Makers”. Report produced in the framework of the Intelligent Energy Europe project EPEE- European Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, September 2009

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What is energy democracy?

Energy democracy is an emergent social advancing renewable energy transitions by resisting the fossil-fuel-dominant energy agenda while reclaiming and democratically restructuring energy regimes. By integrating technological change with the potential for socioeconomic and political change, the movement links social justice and equity with energy innovation.

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How can I help the society participating in energy communities?

Improvements in energy efficiency can make a major contribution to tackling many of the problems that confront individuals and communities. It can save money and reduce debts, reduce waste and improve the environment, improve housing conditions, create jobs and training opportunities, improve health, contribute to community regeneration and finally contribute to tackling climate change help to create a more sustainable future.

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How does self consumption work?

Any energy that your renewable system produces will go first into your home to power any devices that happen to be running – thus reducing the amount of energy you have to purchase (‘import’) from the your electricity retailer. If your renewable system produces more energy than your household can consume at a given moment (e.g. if you’re not home), the excess renewable is automatically sent back into the grid. This ‘exported’ renewable energy is what earns you the low feed-in rates.

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Why self consumption is important for society?

  • Self-consumption helps European consumers and businesses to control their energy bill.
  • Self-consumption increases retail competition and helps market transformation.
  • Self-consumption makes consumers active players of the energy transition, a key objective of the Energy Union.
  • Self-consumption is a key driver for demand-side flexibility.

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What is solidarity economy?

The Solidarity Economy is a values centred, alternative economy. It’s a grassroots economy built by the people, for the people, and the planet.

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What is decentralised energy?

Decentralised energy, as the name suggests, is produced close to where it will be used, rather than at a large plant elsewhere and sent through the national grid. This local generation reduces transmission losses and lowers carbon emissions. There can be economic benefits too. Long term decentralised energy can offer more competitive prices than traditional energy.

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Who can participate in energy communities?

Citizens, local actors such as municipalities and regions and small and medium-sized local businesses can participate in the energy transition and energy planning through their direct active involvement in energy projects.

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Why energy democracy is important?

  1. The cost of producing energy from RES is constantly decreasing and is already directly competitive with (subsidized) fossil fuels.
  2. The democratization of the energy sector ensures that replacement of dirty sources to clean energy will be done in the fastest and socially fair way.
  3. Many energy activities with enormous environmental and developmental benefits (eg biomass, biogas) remain on the sidelines due to lack of interest or bureaucratic obstacles. The institutional framework for energy communities facilitates their development.

 

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