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PROSumers for the Energy Union: mainstreaming active participation of citizens in the energy transition

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROSEU (PROSumers for the Energy Union: mainstreaming active participation of citizens in the energy transition)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

PROSEU - PROSumers for the Energy Union: mainstreaming active participation of citizens in the energy transition - aims to enable the mainstreaming of the prosumer phenomenon into the European Energy Union. Prosumers are active energy citizens, who produce and self-consume energy from renewable sources. PROSEU has established an in-depth knowledge of the conditions leading to the successful and inclusive participation of citizens in the energy transition. Its key conclusions were the following:
1. The European Winter Package regulatory framework offers a range of new opportunities for prosumers, but national governments need to ensure timely and full transposition of the European Directives.
2. To ensure the economic viability of new business and financial models financial incentives, dynamic network charging, market access to independent aggregators, and the roll-out of smart meters are critical factors.
3. Support for capacity building and energy literacy is critical, as well as new strategies for tackling energy poverty through new energy communities.
4. For the successful governance of the energy union, prosumers need to be invited to participate in dialogue and public consultations.
5. 89% of the electricity demand of households in 2050 can be generated by households self-consumption and that 89% of the total need for electricity of heat pumps can be generated by prosumers by 2050.
6. There are many roadmaps to 2030 and 2050 and a reflexive approach is essential to ensure inclusiveness and the democratization of the energy system. These roadmaps will vary in acceleration and span across different directions, from community-led to market-led, from inclusiveness to privilege, and from energy islands to full system integration.
7. Prosumer initiatives are already thriving on the ground. The PROSEU’s 15 living labs research offered critical insights into their main motivations, barriers, and opportunities, engaging 660 participants throughout a total of 60 living lab interventions. Overall, PROSEU has provided an in-depth overview of the potential of prosumerism for accelerating the transition to a more inclusive and democratic energy system. Given the perceived learning and impacts of PROSEU, and the relevance of crosscutting regulatory, financial, and investment-related aspects, the Consortium has produced a final synthesis of policy recommendations - “Mainstreaming Prosumerism – Energy with the people” -, which has been written to inform EU, national and local policymakers on the transposition and implementation process of the Clean Energy Package based on PROSEU’s main findings.
PROSEU project provided an interdisciplinary baseline of knowledge of Renewable Energy Systems, through the identification, characterization, and creation of typologies of the variety of RES prosumer initiatives and stakeholders in Europe. This work has served as a basis for the in-depth research which identified the key factors that (dis) incentivize prosumerism in Europe. Deliverables provided recommendations to policymakers at the EU, national, and local level on how to support and mainstream renewable energy prosumerism, as well as guidance to prosumer initiatives on how to make the best use of the different frameworks and an assessment of the transposition process of the new European Directives to the national levels. Regarding business and financial models, PROSEU’s research identified and characterized the business models adopted by prosumer initiatives, to determine the flows of revenue, balancing, and services of each business model, and its replicability in the context of the Energy Union and analysed innovative financial models for prosumer projects. A technology assessment produced prosumer modeling scenarios at the Member States and EU levels for 2030 and 2050, and identified key policy recommendations for the uptake of prosumer technologies. The findings generated on the political, financial, technological, and socio-cultural aspects were synthesized in a meta-analysis of incentive structures, which provided the foundation for developing a Participatory Assessment of Incentive structures (PIA), through four international multi-stakeholder workshops. The workshop participants were led through a backcasting exercise to co-create pathways to mainstreaming prosumerism in relation to different interrelated topics (i.e. sociocultural aspects, policy and regulations, business and finance, and technology). The results were presented through an animated video and the final roadmaps to mainstreaming prosumerism to 2030 and 2050. Also, 15 Living Labs were implemented in nine countries.
PROSEU has progressed beyond the state of the art by providing a better understanding of the factors driving prosumerism and their interrelations with technological, regulatory, and investment-related aspects.
The analysis of different regulatory and governance frameworks relevant for Prosumers was critical. This analysis enabled an in-depth understanding of the different policies and governance models directly or indirectly affecting prosumers, including the Winter Package legislation, and the transposition process of new European Directives (i.e. the REDII and the Internal Electricity and Market Directive) to the national Member State level. This work led to the development of targeted policy recommendations and the new knowledge on the regulatory and governance aspects was disseminated also through policy webinars.
PROSEU has produced ground-breaking research on prosumer business models, and critical insights into different financial, regulatory, and cultural contexts of financial innovations for prosumers. The results were delivered in the form of reports, policy briefs, and stakeholder reports targeted to different audiences, including policymakers, investors, and prosumers. The project also successfully involved stakeholders from the alternative finance sector (e.g. crowdfunding and Fin-Tech).
A more in-depth understanding of the relevance of technological aspects was achieved through innovative scenario development, leading to key policy recommendations on different prosumer technologies, and their potential for adoption and usability until 2030 and 2050, at the local, national, and EU level scales. PROSEU’s Participatory Integrated Assessment (PIA) of Incentive structures implemented a new methodology based on a) an analysis of the regulatory, economic, technology, and sociocultural incentive structures and b) on four international workshops, which are referred to as PIA (#1 to #4). The PIA results are unique and ground-breaking in providing a clear understanding of the different pathways through which prosumerism can contribute to the Energy Union.
PROSEU’s successful bottom-up living labs research revealed the key challenges and opportunities that prosumers are facing across Europe and provided an experience with a more inclusive methodological approach, which can be critical to accelerate bottom-up transition efforts.
The new understanding and knowledge produced have been actively disseminated throughout the project. To this end, the development of a Prosumers Community of Interest, the dissemination of PROSEU’s research outputs through different channels, as well as the dissemination of the project’s outputs in conferences and other events have proven effective.