Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and Member States are negotiating a framework for climate and energy legislation reform that will set the basis until 2030. In the past, the approach advocated by projects such as ClientEarth and CO-POWER has been largely missing from the debate: community energy.
Community energy – where citizens own or participate in the production and use of sustainable energy – is already proving its potential across Europe; as of 2013 in Denmark, which is on track to meet its target of 50 percent electricity production from wind by 2020, 70 – 80 percent of wind turbines in the country were under community ownership. Renewable energy sources also accounted for 33 percent of Denmark’s heating and cooling, which has historically been managed either by municipalities or consumer-owned heating co-operatives.
While EU legislation implicitly backs some aspects of community energy, it doesn't explicitly recognise or support it. ClientEarth’s latest report Community Power: Model legal frameworks for citizen-owned renewable energy argues it is time for the EU to acknowledge the growing role of citizens in developing a more sustainable energy system. The CO-POWER project, in line with ClientEarth’s position, has developed recommendations for measures and legislation at EU level and in seven target member states (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom).
For more information, visit the CO-POWER website.
Energy, an intrinsic element of European society, heats and cools buildings and homes, transports goods, and helps power the economy. However, until now there has been no singular energy market in Europe, meaning aging infrastructure, poorly integrated markets, and uncoordinated policies have resulted in underutilised and unevenly distributed energy, pricing and choice.
In an announcement made in late February, delivering on the top priority set out in President Juncker's political guidelines, the European Commission has outlined its strategy to achieve a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy. Dubbed "the biggest energy project since the Coal and Steel Community," by Maros Šefčovič European Commission vice-president responsible for Energy Union, at the core of the coalition is the goal of a transition to a “low-carbon society that is built to last”.
Specifically, the Energy Union will: implement a solidarity clause to reduce dependence on single suppliers; enforce and maintain free energy flows across borders; place energy efficiency first by “fundamentally rethinking energy efficiency and treating it as an energy source in its own right so that it can compete on equal terms with generation capacity”; and transitioning to a low-carbon Europe, emphasising energy and technology produced in the EU.
For more information, visit the European Commission website.