Enabling More People’s OWnership in Energy tRansition

Today, the role of citizens in the energy system is limited to be “energy-consumers”, at most “energy prosumers” or investors. This role will change in the future. The EC introduced a new vision in the winter package 2016. In MEMO/16/3961 the EC states: “All consumers across the EU will be entitled to generate electricity for either their own consumption, store it, share it, consume it or to sell it back to the market. These changes should make it easier for households and businesses to become more involved in the energy system, to better control their energy consumption and respond to price signals.” The updated European Renewables Energy Directive (ERED-14-06-2018) reinforces the importance.

To succeed, another degree of organization is required to empower the groups of citizens and businesses in their new role. Currently, citizens and businesses encounter significant challenges (governance, technical, legal, financial) to play an active role in the energy market.

Pilot projects will be run that use opportunities to organize direct access to the energy market by engaging and connecting existing civil society structures, such as schools, sports clubs, neighbourhoods, business parks or local energy cooperatives. 14000 households in the directly involved municipalities and regions of the partners will be empowered, leading to an increased uptake of renewable energy by 1% of the households in the NSR and a reduction of 28000 carbon dioxide emissions in the North Sea Region.

EMPOWER2.0 is an Interreg North Sea Region funded project with 15 partners, led by Gemeente Zaanstad (NL):
7 cities/provinces/intermuncipality organisations (Gemeente Zaanstad (NL), Provincie West-Vlaanderen (BE), Essex County Council (UK), Southend on Sea Borough Council (UK), Middelfart Kommune (DK), Gemeente Haarlem (NL), Intercommunale Leiedal (BE))
3 universities (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (NL), University of Southern Denmark (DK), Ghent University (BE))
2 companies (Gate2Growth (DK), Graham Oakes Ltd (UK))
3 cooperatives (Coöperatie WeSpark Zaanstreek (NL), Stadsgarage (NL), Coöperatie Kennemer Energie (NL)).

Together with our colleagues at Urban Technology and the Citizen Data Lab, we are developing a toolkit that is designed to support local/regional authorities, citizen communities and other parties in taking a role in empowering citizens to participate in the energy transition. It will the take the form of an online platform that showcases all arrangements and possibilities for other interested local authorities in complex stakeholders’ environments and to plan their own prosumer projects. We will develop and test pilot arrangements in representative areas across the NSR to ensure that the tools are transferable and replicable across urban authorities.