The POWER-E-COM Project aims to foster the cooperation between regional and local authorities and citizens so that community energy projects can come to fruition in six European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, and Spain. From front-runners to waveres, these countries represent different stages of implementing EU directives on energy communities. They bring together local communities and groups of citizens to collaboratively generate, manage, and benefit from renewable energy sources. The ultimate objective is to establish functional community energy projects in these regions.
The approach of the POWER-E-COM Project can be broken down into several key strategies:
– Country Selection: The project strategically targets countries at different stages of implementing European Union (EU) directives related to energy communities. These stages are categorized as Frontrunners (Ireland), Dynamic movers (Spain), Ambiguous movers (Germany and Austria), and Waverers (Bulgaria and Slovenia).
It refers to the process by which European Union (EU) directives related to energy communities are incorporated into the national laws and regulations of each member country. These directives are designed to promote and facilitate the development of energy communities where citizens actively participate in energy production and consumption. The stages of transposition refer to how far along each country is in adopting and implementing these EU directives into their national legal frameworks.
– Involvement of Citizens: Recognizing that citizen engagement varies across the EU, the project acknowledges that some countries (e.g., Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Spain) are well-acquainted with the concept of renewable energy communities, while others (such as Bulgaria and Slovenia) require more promotion and support. These will inform when preparing the energy community models and support of the regulatory changes needed in the partner countries while enveloping the projects.
– Stakeholder Training: POWER-E-COM is committed to training, mentoring, supporting, and empowering stakeholders. This includes, primarily, local and regional authorities, as well as citizen groups. The goal is to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to initiate, develop, manage, and expand energy communities. These efforts are based on adaptable and evolving business models.
These models are not confined to the project regions alone; they are designed to be shared and replicated across Europe.
The POWER-E-COM Project anticipates significant positive outcomes. The setting-up of the energy communities planned, their sustainability and replication, and the communication and dissemination actions are expected to attract substantial investment, result in energy savings, and contribute significantly to the production of renewable energy during its duration.
It is expected to accumulate a total investment of 21.4 million euros (M€) over the course of the project’s lifetime. Added to that, a yearly energy savings of 9.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of primary energy. This suggests that the energy communities and related actions will lead to reduced energy consumption or more efficient energy use. Moreover, it is projected a yearly production of 37.3 GWh of renewable energy sources (RES). This means that the energy communities established through the project will produce a significant amount of clean and renewable energy, such as solar, wind, or other sustainable sources, on an annual basis.
In summary, POWER-E-COM aims to facilitate the establishment and growth of energy communities in different European countries, taking into account variations in citizen involvement and the diverse stages of EU directive implementation in these regions. The ultimate goal is to drive sustainable energy projects, reduce emissions, and promote community-based renewable energy initiatives.