CSOPs are directly relevant to the current political and social priorities and contribute to meeting the challenges of the energy transition
- Bridging the investment gap: A CSOP is an alternative to both commercial projects without local participation and citizen-energy projects without substantial funds. By unlocking untapped investment opportunities in renewable energy, a CSOP contributes to reaching our climate goals.
- Bridging the social gap: By reducing barriers in terms of financial assets, expertise or time, a CSOP is a low-threshold and inclusive financing tool for consumer groups that have so far been underrepresented and often even excluded from or disinterested in citizen energy.
- Fighting energy poverty while avoiding social transfers: Because vulnerable consumers are supplied with energy by the renewable energy plant and receive an additional income from their investment (once loans are repaid from the profits), a CSOP can reduce inequalities without relying on social transfers.
- Fostering acceptance and democratic participation through ownership: Since the energy transition requires societal and behavioural changes, it is crucial to involve energy consumers in order to grow acceptance. Consumer (co-)ownership as a learning device contributes to increasing acceptance, providing an additional income, enhancing the quality of life and stimulating the (local) economy.
- Contributing to a level-playing field and diversity of actors on the market: The CSOP financing technique builds on financial techniques (leverage; trusteeship) to scale up citizen energy investments. Like this, a CSOP can compete with commercial projects in a liberalised market. It does not crowd-out or prevent commercial or small-scale projects from benefitting from regulatory exemptions to contribute to the Energy Transition.
- Fighting climate change globally with a standard solution: Following a comparative analysis, CSOPs could not only be introduced in Europe but also represent an opportunity for the Energy Transition in other countries across the globe. Particularly in developing countries, a CSOP may facilitate the access to credit needed for RE installations.