Decentralised energy systems: engaging citizens in Europe’s energy future


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On 26th June, the conference ‘Decentralised energy systems: engaging citizens in Europe’s energy future’ within 2014 EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is taking place in Brussels organised by Cooperatives Europe, REScoop.EU, Housing Europe (CECODHAS), Euro Coop, Friends of the Earth and Climate Alliance. The aim of this event is to show for the newly installed European Parliament and the future EU Commission that local authorities together with their citizens have the recipe for what it takes to make the European energy transition a success story.

While the current energy debate is focusing on setting new targets for 2030 and the internal energy market, more recognition should be given to a decentralised energy approach through citizen-based initiatives. These initiatives allow optimal use of local energy resources to satisfy local consumption, create jobs and ensure greater security of energy supply. When investing in local renewable energy projects, economic benefits stay within communities, and therefore foster local prosperity and a circular, resource secure economy. Without strong citizen involvement the energy transition won’t succeed.

The fundamental role of citizens in setting up local initiatives is often in partnership with local and regional authorities and utilities. Therefore this event will examine the barriers when setting up an energy cooperative, what is needed to overcome them and how the EU can provide a more coherent energy policy framework to better include local authorities and citizens. These are some of the key questions to which speakers will try to provide concrete answers and solutions.

Local authorities and cooperatives are key to citizen energy transition. Legal and financial barriers currently prevent citizens from participating more effectively in decisions about Europe’s energy generation, but these can be overcome with help from local governments and cooperatives, as Friends of the Earth Europe, Climate Alliance,, Cooperatives Europe, CECODHAS and Euro Coop will say during the event on the 26th of June. Read the joint press release.

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