EE-06-2016-2017 - Engaging private consumers towards sustainable energy
Develop and roll out tailored and effective and innovative engagement actions to motivate changes in consumers' sustainable energy behaviour that would result in reduced energy consumption in buildings, heating/cooling systems and/or appliances. The proposed actions should focus on clearly defined target groups of private consumers (individuals or collectives), using market segmentation [Market segmentation: this involves dividing a bigger target group into subgroups of consumers with common needs and priorities, and developing and implementing specific actions to target them. As an example, vulnerable consumers may be considered too wide a target group and further segmentation would be expected]. The proposed actions should demonstrate an understanding of different types of behaviours and consider the different approaches needed to influence them. The actions should also address the risk of "rebound effects", propose measures to counteract them, and apply current theory and practice on consumer decision making processes (e.g. effects of new technologies on energy behaviour). All relevant stakeholders necessary for the successful implementation of the action should be involved and it is expected that relevant consumer organisations, in particular, are either directly involved or their support is clearly demonstrated in the proposal. Where relevant for the proposed action, gender issues should be taken into account, in particular the role gender characteristics may play in influencing consumer behaviour. Actions should preferably cover a wide geographic area through complementary actions covering various parts of the EU. In addition the proposed actions, when relevant, should include policy lessons from the action to contribute to policy development.
The proposed action should cover one or more of the following:
- Empower and facilitate actions for consumers to become prosumers, or to form collective consumer groups/consumer cooperatives (addressing energy efficiency and/or renewable energy, and energy storage, where applicable, with a focus on action).
- Support clearly defined groups of vulnerable consumers in tackling fuel poverty by facilitating more sustainable energy behaviour and choices in their everyday life, without compromising comfort levels. This should also aim at achieving structural changes of national policies to specifically address fuel poverty and could include the transfer of best practices for the active engagement of vulnerable consumers.
- Facilitate wider deployment and consumer adoption of existing ICT-based solutions, for energy efficiency and information on energy consumption and costs, with a focus on action and resulting in improved understanding of ICT interfaces and information depiction (including smart metering and related systems).
- Facilitate consumer understanding of energy bills (on and off line), leading to actions allowing for a reduction in energy consumption. Such actions should ensure robust monitoring to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach proposed,
- Create better instruments for improving consumer understanding and routing purchase decisions towards higher efficiency products, without compromising comfort levels, and with no additional relevant environmental impacts,
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.
Consumers should be considered at the heart of the energy system and become active market players. The future private consumer should be more aware, active, energy sufficient, as well as being a prosumer producing energy for their own consumption, where this is possible. Furthermore, in view of the fluctuation in energy prices, consumers are spending an increasing share of their income on energy, with estimates stating that more than 50 million Europeans are affected by energy poverty [EESC (2013/C/341/05) referring to the European Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency project, 2009]. Energy efficiency, energy savings and increased use of locally produced, including own produced, renewable energy are key tools in addressing fuel poverty.
In this context, engagement actions are needed across Europe in order to achieve behavioural change towards more sustainable choices and decisions for energy. This includes increasing and understanding consumer 'apetite' for higher efficiency products.
Although awareness on the benefits of collective consumer action in the field of EE and RES has increased in past years, such action is still hampered by a number of barriers, including financial and regulatory barriers and inconsistencies in grid integration practice. In addition, insufficient use of relevant ICT solutions and insufficient understanding of energy bills contribute to hampering the achievement of a more sustainable energy system.
Proposed actions are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below (wherever possible, use quantified indicators and targets), depending on the scope of the proposal:
- Primary energy savings triggered by the project within its duration (in GWh/year per million Euro of EU funding);
- Number of people changing their behaviour and taking informed decisions, documenting why and how changes are an effect of particular measures taken, as well in terms of the sustainability of the behavioural change;
- Number of consumers engaged by actions aiming at improving consumer understanding and routing purchase decisions towards higher efficiency products;
- Renewable Energy production and Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project within its duration (for actions on prosumers/consumers groups, respectively in GWh/year and million Euro of investments per million Euro of EU funding);
- Policies and strategies created/adapted to include fuel poverty (for actions on fuel poverty), to be measured in number of citations / statements from governance bodies.