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The role of consumers in changing the market through informed decision and collective actions



The proposed action should develop activities informing and motivating consumers to change old and inefficient installed appliances with the highest energy saving potential (e.g. boilers, local space heaters, air heaters) to more efficient and clean energy heating and/or cooling solutions. While financial aspects (cost savings, payback period) would be the main motivating factor and therefore should be presented in a precise and credible manner, other aspects such as increased comfort and aesthetics, safety, improved air quality, or possible participation in demand-response should be the integral part of the actions in order to unlock the full potential of multiple benefits of energy efficiency improvements.

2019 and 2020:

The proposed action should set up and/or support energy communities (consumer cooperatives, consumer collective purchase groups, and/or other consumer driven collective actions) to increase energy efficiency and/or optimise energy management to integrate a higher share of renewable energy (generated locally or provided from the grid) within the community by, for example, combining collective solutions to distributed generation, distributed storage, and/or demand-response aggregation. The focus of the proposed action should be on households, however, this does not preclude the complementary involvement of non-residential buildings.

The proposed action should cover the following points:

  • Identify and address regulatory barriers and contractual conditions with utilities, suppliers, grid operators, technology providers etc. for cooperative actions, possibly linking activities with structural solutions involving public authorities;
  • Demonstrate that collectively organised energy-related actions are financially viable and attractive to the consumer-members of the energy community.

In addition, the proposed action could cover the following points, as relevant:

  • Identify and implement solutions to address split incentives (e.g. allowing tenants to set up/join the consumer driven collective action);
  • Demonstrate collective actions of energy consumers based on the solutions and business approaches using digital tools and technologies (such as digital platforms or blockchain transactions). If the proposed action includes smart home/IoT solutions, it should link to the developments under the call DT-ICT-10-2018: Interoperable and smart homes and grids.

Relevant for the three years:

The proposed actions should address the risk of ""rebound effects"" and propose measures to counteract them, where relevant. All relevant stakeholders necessary for the successful implementation of the action should be involved and relevant consumer organisations, in particular, should be either directly involved or their support demonstrated in the proposal. Proposed actions should also take issues of consumer data ownership and data privacy into account, where relevant. The proposed actions are invited to build on experiences and lessons learned in other relevant projects and programmes[[This should include e.g. LIFE projects, the implementation of Air Quality Plans and the implementation of Operational Programmes under ESIF, H2020 projects, Intelligent Energy Europe projects, and other relevant national, local, or regional initiatives.]].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

A precondition for active demand is for consumers to be aware of their own potential to permanently or temporarily reduce energy consumption; and moreover, for them to know how to offer this potential to the market and what it would represent in terms of monetary value by bringing benefits to the energy system.

Different forms of collective action have the potential to assist consumers in forming critical mass and to facilitate increased uptake of energy efficiency & active demand solutions and services. Although collective actions on energy efficiency have emerged in recent years, a lack of awareness on the potential benefits of such actions, together with regulatory barriers, continues to hamper their full development and uptake.

Finally, important challenges involve installed appliances (such as boilers for space and/or water heating) of which a big share is inefficient and fossil-fuel based, resulting in increased fuel consumption and fuel costs for households. Informing consumers of the potential energy savings and their monetization, as well as other benefits such as increased comfort and improved air quality, can result in increased motivation for replacing inefficient appliances, thereby permanently reducing consumption.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate, depending on the scope addressed, the impacts listed below using quantified indicators and targets, wherever possible:

  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year);
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (in million Euro);
  • Contribution to reducing regulatory barriers and improving contractual conditions;
  • Increase domestic uptake of energy efficient products and services;
  • Involvement of at least 5.000 consumers per million Euro of EU funding.

Additional positive effects can be quantified and reported when relevant and wherever possible:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year) and/or air pollutants (in kg/year) triggered by the project.