Introducing ECCO, a support for Community Energy
ECCO is an EU Interreg project focused on creating and developing Energy Community Co-operatives.
Policymakers both nationally and locally aim to promote locally owned and controlled renewable energy, and have pledged to unlock renewable energy sources to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. This is evidenced by the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which has been signed by local and regional authorities committed to achieving climate and energy targets set out by the EU.
Energy policy is currently based on traditional energy industry actors, who are reticent to share the socio-economic benefits with the communities in which they are based. This centralised and profit-driven market has caused a growing public resentment, known as ‘not in my back yard’, or ‘NIMBY’. Renewable energy (RE) allows for the distributed production and supply of energy and can involve local communities. To ensure the continued growth of RE and a successful energy transition, policymakers need to overcome this resentment in the general public. This can be achieved by supporting communities to get involved in developing RE so they can reap the benefits and feed profits back into local projects.
A prime example of this is Bio-Energie Dörfer in Germany, where communities are actively involved in the production of RE, which addresses the failing RE market and supports the sustainable development of local communities. Similar initiatives have been introduced in the Netherlands and Denmark, proving to policymakers that organising well-developed rural community cooperatives for decentralised energy management is a promising strategy. Community energy can generate local economic and social benefits, increase people’s acceptance of change and raise awareness of changes needed for a more sustainable lifestyle.
However, emerging local initiatives are facing barriers at present. These include a lack of knowledge in areas of finances, technology, marketing and management. Because of this, policymakers have indicated that an effective exchange of knowledge and experiences is necessary to speed up the RE transition in communities. As a solution to this issue, an Accelerator Network (AN) will be developed as part of the ECCO project. This will allow ECCOs to rally their knowledge on various topics, and support the development of community energy across North-West Europe (NWE).
A growing number of ECCOs - supported by an equally growing number of local and regional policymakers - will be a driving force for change.
Want to know more?
Please contact us by e-mail (email@example.com) for further information on what ECCO can help your community achieve. Click here to go to the project website to keep up to date with news and events.