European Sustainable Energy Week 2018

From 5 to 7 June 2018, the European University Viadrina (EUV) and Climate Alliance participated in the annual European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW18) in Brussels - one of the biggest European policy-oriented conferences on sustainable energy. At an EASME contractors meeting on 8 June, Prof Lowitzsch (EUV, project coordinator) presented SCORE to other H2020-projects focused on energy poverty.

With nearly 80 conferences in three days and many more side events, the EUSEW18 was the perfect place to gather input on clean energy finance, to discuss the role of the consumer in the energy transition and to announce the start of the SCORE project. Even more so given the fact that the final round of negotiations on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive and its implication for energy communities were on everyone’s mind.

EUSEW18: Energy expertise hub on consumer engagement and innovative financing

The policy conferences confirmed that consumer engagement and innovative financing tools in the energy transition are considered essential aspects by European stakeholders. In this light, the vice-president of the European Investment Bank, Jonathan Taylor, insisted that pooling consumer investment to accelerate the financing of energy efficiency measures in the residential sector is crucial. At the opening session, Mayor Caprioglio of the Italian municipality of Savona underlined the difficulties for local authorities to accommodate their role as pacemaker and their budgetary constraints. The different costs of capital in EU countries and their influence on energy community development were additionally pointed out by Toni Vidan from the European Economic and Social Committee. These comments further highlight the significance of SCORE and the contribution the CSOP model entails in order to solve the discussed problems.

On the first day, the conference on “Energy communities, pathway for the citizens leading a decentralised transition to energy democracy” organised by REScoop (member of SCORE advisory board) prompted a lively discussion between Anna Collucci (European Commission), Theresa Griffin (Member of the European Parliament), Gerald McGovern (University of Oldenburg), Fabian Pause (Stiftung Umweltenergierecht), Josh Roberts (REScoop) and Kathrin Schweren (Swisscom). The panellists exchanged their perceptions of what constitutes an energy community: its values, its position relative to other market players and the possible regulatory framework applied to them.

Anna Colluci finally pointed out that energy communities should come in “all shapes and colour”. Josh Roberts expressed concern with regard to the broad definition adopted in the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive. In this context, he is expecting an increased risk for dilution of the definition by Member States during the implementation phase. Anna Colucci and Gerald McGovern pointed out that energy communities are still kind of a "new animal" for most actors and thus eyed with caution in their development, even though they were actually neither a novelty for the panellists nor for the audience. Hence, there is a need for a large-scale diffusion of information and best practice examples on a European scale.

With respect to the question of which value(s) should drive an energy community, the panellists held different positions. A poll among the audience (then again, not representative of the whole European stakeholder community) resulted in a tendency towards non-profit models. In this context, Gerard McGovern claimed: “And one of the question here was: should it be not for-profit? I don’t think that’s the question. The real question is what do we do with the profit, once we’ve got a piece of the cake. And that should be invested in community and the European development fund uses the term regional development and social cohesion. I would like in this topic to be a bit more precise and talk about community cohesion and that, I think, is a common target for all of us.” We could not agree more with Gerard McGovern’s quote and invite you to see our promotional video “A piece of the cake” for the EUSEW18 talk to see how CSOP contributes to this.

Prof Lowitzsch and his research assistant Claire Gauthier (EUV) exchanged insights and networked with many colleagues during those three days.

Of particular interest for SCORE were the following conferences and their participants: „Active consumers, vulnerable consumers“ and „lessons from the ground: what ticks with consumers on renewable?“ on the first day; „Energy poverty: inclusive clean energy transition and best practice“, „Solidarity and energy communities, how community energy alleviates energy poverty both rural and urban“ and „Energy storytelling: why stories matter to scientists and policy-makers in energy policy“ on the second day.

Presenting the SCORE project to European stakeholders

SCORE was further presented on four separate occasions. On 7 June, Claire Gauthier pitched the Consumer Stock Ownership Plan against the background of the Clean Energy Package, in particular the recast of the renewable energy directive and the issue of inclusiveness.

Claire Gauthier presenting CSOP as a community energy model at the energy talk

On 8 June, Prof Lowitzsch and Barbara Kalker (Caritas) presented SCORE at the contractors meeting on energy poverty organised by the EU agency for SMEs.

On 6 and 8 June, Prof Lowitzsch and Claire Gauthier also discussed CSOP and SCORE with members of the European Parliament and officers of the European Commission. They showed great interest in the concept and the Project as well as its potential for community cohesion, inclusiveness and for becoming a best practice.

Theresa Griffin MEP, Claire Gauthier and Prof Jens Lowitzsch

Theresa Griffin MEP tweeted about the meeting:

"Great to meet with @EUV_KelsoProf and @claire1gauthier about energy poverty, inclusive renewable energy communities and giving consumers the power to become co-owners of their own energy. Really great discussion!"


SCORE: part of a big successful family

Climate Alliance had a very busy week. They co-organised many conferences such as „A fair transition? How can the EU-post2020 budget support local energy leadership?” and „Clean energy transition on EU islands and beyond.“ They supported their two award-recipients: the Saerbecks’s bioenergy park (consumer category) and the Peace_Alps project (public sector category). They officially launched the Clean Energy for EU islands secretariat with the SCORE advisory board member,, building on the initiative launched by the European Commission in November 2017. – also a member of SCORE’s advisory board – was equally busy with the co-organisation of „Energy communities, pathway for the citizens leading a decentralised transition to energy democracy“, and „The value of people power: the case for decentralised solar and demand-side flexibility." Many projects of which REScoop is a consortium member were also present. What is more, REScoop presented its energy efficiency toolkit for energy communities at the energy fair. WiseGrid was awarded not only by the jury in the category "Business" but also by the popular vote for the Citizens Award.