Citizens role in energy transition – From what is to what if!

What if – instead of always searching for investors in „big“ and „national“ energy projects mostly related to gas and oil – we ask out citizens to invest in renewable energy? For solar panels on the roofs, garage, gardens, community centers?

What if we unlock the people savings in the banks for the investment in projects with community character and service? Finally, what if we – as a business – ask about the social impact of the project before the profit? Would that make any difference in the end?

Do not know for others but that’s what motivates us.

Researchers were very clear on citizen energy potential concluding that 1 out of 2 person in European Union could be producing their own energy by 2050. Same for Croatia.

And that includes solar panels on the roofs, gardens, public buildings but also group of people who wants to own wind park or biomass plant.

Solar energy is the most democratic source of energy – anybody can have to say in it.

With small improvement in the legislation, we have new business models ready and tested.

We have story of Krizevci. Small city at the north, famous for the chocolate and good food, who bravely support first crowdinvesting projects in solar energy.

Impact? In two campaigns we had around 80 investors and recorded interest for over 1 million kuna. In a couple of days and hours! If we replicate this project on other public buildings we could have thousands of investors in solar energy!

We have a vision of community energy neighborhoods where people are trading energy like a food   – on which we work through COMPILE project,funded by the EU program Horizon 2020.

We have a vision to engage local community on how to use agrobiomass in rural areas for their heating systems through AgroBioHeat project, also funded by the EU program Horizon 2020.

We have a vision on connecting local authorities and energy cooperatives for the joint projects in climate and energy – with the support from Covenant of Mayors and REScoop.eu and EIT  Climate KIC community.

This week we were invited to give a speech on community energy in Croatian Parliament and in the wake of opening public discussion on energy strategy and climate plans, here are our policy recommendations

  • Do not invest any cents in fossil fuels – Make people invest in renewables
  • Create high ambition scenario for renewable community energy
  • Do introduce definition of citizen energy communities – one that will allow opportunities for municipalities and citizens to take part in energy transition
  • Create policy environment for emerging business models – so that multi-apartments buildings and blocks can also use solar energy

Now, when renewable energy officially entered the mainstream as Croatia being named as one of most emerging markets – it is a perfect time to make it right way – to make it community way!

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