Tessa de Boer

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Tessa de Boer, European advisor , posted

Municipality Zaanstad is looking for partners for EU project: empowerment of the citizens. Who will join?

Project summary: Europe’s energy market is undergoing a fundamental transition from a system based on fossil fuels and nuclear power towards one based entirely on renewable energy. It is also transforming from a centralized market dominated by large utilities to a decentralized market with millions of active energy citizens or “prosumers”. Without energy citizens, the energy transition is not possible.

Nonetheless, energy is something we take all for granted. It is available, it is cheap and it is reliable. We grew up with it. However, times are changing. In 2016, many countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The effects of this Agreement seems to be far away, but you can read them already in different EU and national government policies.

The Agreement is about 3 key components: local, clean and affordable energy. These three have a huge impact on the citizens. All consumers across the EU will be entitled to generate electricity for their own consumption, store it, share it, and consume it or to sell to the market. These changes will make it easier for households and business cases to become more involved in the energy system, to better control their energy consumption and respond to price signals.
However, energy citizens still face significant legal obstacles throughout the European Union including explicit legal restrictions, disproportionate administrative and planning procedures and punitive tariffs. With the right EU legal framework, energy citizens could flourish and deliver a significant share of Europe’s renewable energy and provide important flexibility to the energy system through demand response. An important side effect of this energy awareness is often stated: saving energy.

But why wait for new regulations? If the right size and scale of cooperation can be achieved, a direct access to the energy market can easily be obtained. At least: it is our presumption.

In the existing MRA-project CITYZEN the outline of the new energy market is already there. However, acceptance is low; energy is a low-interest product, within this project we want to bring this to a higher level.

In the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) we choose a business-oriented approach to exchange energy directly for and by the society. It offers (to all those involved) a low-threshold / easy access to the energy market. What is the plan? We set up a local Energy market place where selling and buying of green energy takes place. It looks like an aggregator, owned by residents, local companies.
This (local) energy is not only affordable, but also makes a local product of clean energy: Our energy. This approach gives directly meaning to the 3 components of local, clean and affordable energy.
But size, scale,in-depth knowledge, time and money often lacks with ’energy-cooperatives’ .
How to empower these citizens, so that they actually be able to participate in this energy system? How do we make this energy system attractive, affordable, legal and digitally possible? And do we involve and engage citizens in this energy transition.

The challenge lays in integrating governance, financial, technical and community approaches. This project takes actions to increase energy awareness and improve the sustainable behavior of European citizens

With this local Energy Platform, we test and demonstrate how consumers can control their own energy system and how to make them part of the system. We want to empower our citizens and develop a New energy deal.
This project focusses on 4 workpackages to develop and test solutions for; legal and organizational, financial (Business case), technical (ICT) and community (communication tools and networks) parts of this new local energy deal.

Contactinformation: tessa.deboer@vindsubsidies.nl

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