The energy transition is a critical challenge that requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including governments, private companies, and citizens. Energy communities, as defined by the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and the Electricity Market Design (EMD), are a powerful tool to accelerate this transition while promoting citizen inclusion, social acceptance, and environmental benefits.

By developing dedicated financing schemes tailored to the needs of energy communities, you can:

  1. Promote citizen engagement and acceptance: Energy communities empower citizens to become active participants in the energy transition, fostering a sense of ownership and acceptance towards renewable energy projects.
  2. Tackle energy poverty: Many energy communities have developed programmes to alleviate energy poverty, using profits from renewable energy projects to support vulnerable households.
  3. Drive innovation and technological advancement: Energy communities are exploring innovative business models beyond energy production, such as demand-response, storage, electric mobility, and community-led renovations.
  4. Enhance energy efficiency and savings: Studies have shown that energy community members can reduce their energy consumption by up to 10% due to access to professional advice and relevant equipment.
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To fully leverage the potential of energy communities, we recommend you:

  1. Ensure dedicated financing programmes with specific budget allocations for energy communities, aligning with the EU's definitions and requirements.
  2. Prioritise social and environmental criteria in the selection process, such as the inclusion of energy-poor households, technological innovation, and territorial development.
  3. Foster transparency and inclusiveness by involving civil society and community energy networks in the design and implementation of financing programmes.
  4. Provide capacity-building support and facilitate the participation of energy communities in funding opportunities through partnerships with local organisations.
  5. Leverage the REPowerEU chapters to strengthen financial support for energy communities, recognizing their role in tackling energy poverty and promoting local energy sufficiency.

By embracing energy communities and developing comprehensive financing schemes, you can empower citizens, promote social inclusion, and drive the energy transition towards a more sustainable and equitable future.