Supporting Consumer Co-Ownership in Renewable Energies
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (RE) sources requires motivating consumers to change their consumption habits so as to balance demand with a volatile energy supply and to accept new technologies like smart meters. Consumer co-ownership in RE – “Citizen Energy” – has proved successful in engaging consumers in financing RES, thus becoming “prosumers” which in turn induced positive behavioural changes in energy consumption. “Prosumer” models, however, are still not widely implemented across Europe.
Guaranteed feed-in tariffs have facilitated the repayment of RE installation loans, but now a shift to auction systems favouring large-scale projects threatens this powerful incentive to citizens' investment. Moreover, the typical “prosumer” is male, middle aged and with a higher in-come whereas the participation of women and social groups vulnerable to fuel poverty is uncommon. The rebound effect and insufficient use of ICT solutions are additional problems.
- Facilitates consumers to become prosumers of RE, firstly in three pilot regions in Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, secondly in cities across Europe following the pilot projects. It applies Consumer Stock Ownership Plans (CSOPs) utilising established best practice up-dated by inclusive financing techniques and combined with energy efficiency measures.
- Activates local authorities and consumers demonstrating the positive impact co-ownership has on consumer behaviour. It shows the ability of this democratic participation model to include women as well as low-income households, in particular unemployed.
- Empowers consumers and municipalities in a capacity-building program through the launch of an interactive online “RE Prosumer Investment Calculator” and seminars in the five partner countries (DE, IT, BG, PL, CZ).
- Formulates policy recommendations to promote prosumership and to remove barriers for consumers to become active market players at the EU and national levels.
See the project website.