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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PROSEU (PROSumers for the Energy Union: mainstreaming active participation of citizens in the energy transition)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31

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 focusses mainly on prosumer initiatives (such as energy communities or energy cooperatives), which are defined as a collective actor who produces energy from renewable sources with the primary objective of providing for its own energy needs and/or those of its members, and in some cases selling excess energy to clients, thereby actively participating in energy markets. PROSEU develops an integrated knowledge framework for a socio-political, socioeconomic, business and financial, technological and socio-cultural understanding of renewable energy (RE) prosumerism, leading to a comprehensive assessment of incentive structures to enable the mainstreaming of RE prosumers, while safeguarding citizen participation, inclusiveness, and transparency. The projects’ overall objectives are to:
1. Document and analyse the current state of the art with respect to (150-200) RE prosumer initiatives in Europe
2. Analyse the regulatory frameworks and policy instruments relevant for prosumer initiatives in nine participating Member States
3. Identify innovative financing schemes throughout the nine countries and the barriers and opportunities for prosumer business models
4. Scenarios for 2030 and 2050 based on in-depth analysis of technological solutions for prosumers under different geographical, climatic and socio-political conditions
5. A Participatory Integrated Assessment of incentive structures and a roadmap (until 2030 and 2050) for mainstreaming prosumerism
6. Synthesize the lessons learned with 15 Living Labs from nine Member States
7. Develop new methodological tools and draw lessons on the PROSEU methodology
8. Create a Prosumers Community of Interest
To address its key research question (i.e. what incentive structures will enable the mainstreaming of renewable energy prosumerism and, in so doing, safeguarding citizen participation, inclusiveness, and transparency in the Energy Union?), PROSEU advanced its activities in nine countries, i.e. Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The first half of the project delivered a knowledge baseline of RE prosumers, through the identification, characterization and the creation of typologies on the variety of initiatives and stakeholders in Europe. The literature review and the results of an online questionnaire (with 198 valid responses) focused on the political, economic, technological as well as socio-cultural factors driving RE prosumerism. Work progressed with a comparative assessment of relevant regulatory frameworks and policy instruments. Recommendations to policymakers at EU, national, and local levels on how to support and mainstream renewable energy prosumerism have been produced. Research is progressing with the analyses of business models adopted by prosumer initiatives, in order to determine the flows of revenue, energy, balancing, and services of each business model, and their replicability. On the technological side, PROSEU produced a technology assessment of key technologies that enable RE prosumerism, including data on energy production, energy demand, demand-side management, and energy storage. Partners are working on the production of prosumer modelling scenarios for 2030 and 2050, for the 28 Member States and the EU. The findings generated on the political, financial, technological and socio-cultural aspects will be synthesized in a meta-analysis of incentive structures, to be developed during the second half of the project. This analysis is complemented with the Living Labs - an innovative approach for co-creation, and co-production of knowledge through the active participation of RE prosumer initiatives and stakeholders. 15 Living Labs are established in the nine target countries and 23 co-creation activities (or ‘interventions’) have already taken place, drawing on different methodological tools, including participatory methods, and incorporating local knowledge. To ensure that all research data produced is can be reused by others in an effective and transparent way, the project outcomes are regularly uploaded to the open repository ZENODO. Furthermore, attention has been paid to ethical standards, procedures and data protection. The main results so far are:
• Mapping and characterization of renewable energy prosumer initiatives’ needs, barriers, and opportunities (D2.1)
• A multi-actor typology of prosumer experiences across Europe (D2.2).
• Assessment report of existing EU-wide and Member State-specific regulatory and policy frameworks of RE Prosumers (D3.1)
• Two policy briefs on the Relevance of EU policies and frameworks for prosumers (D3.2 Part1), and Sustainability guidance for prosumers and policymakers (D3.2 Part2).
• An analysis of business and financial models for prosumers across Europe will be published by the end of the year (D4.1).
• A technology database compatible with the SETIS, providing an overview of key technologies that enable households and small enterprises to become prosumers (D5.1).
• A management structure and methodological framework for the 15 Living Labs
• A Plan for the Dissemination and Exploitation of Results (D8.1 and D8.4) including various document templates, the PROSEU flyer, and two infographics.
• The project website (D8.2).
• A Report on the Prosumers Community of Interest (D8.3) and the online mapping of the renewable energy prosumer initiatives who have joined this community (https://proseu.eu/community-of-interest) with so far 46 registered initiatives.
PROSEU will progress beyond the state of the art by demonstrating how prosumer initiatives can contribute to the European Energy Union. The decentralized expansion of renewable energies can generate added local value through new revenues for communities, including job creation. Living Labs are developing and are contributing to the uptake of local prosumerism across the nine countries, with the participation of up to now a total of 332 people in the (23) Living Labs interventions. Living Labs will help increase the uptake of decentralized energy production at the local level and provide knowledge on lessons learned and recommendations for the inclusive participation of citizens in the energy transition. PROSEU will impact the SET-plan both directly and indirectly. Direct impacts are already being achieved as PROSEU’s results, dissemination activities and open access data policy are engaging and activating prosumerism. The involvement of the Prosumers Community of Interest, the dissemination of PROSEU’s research outputs through different channels has proven so far effective. Partners have participated in 38 events and conferences through which so far around 1800 people have been reached. The collection and analysis of different types of incentives and their integrated analysis will help determine actions to change current incentive structures for the mainstreaming of RE prosumerism, which in turn is expected to have an indirect impact, such as the increased uptake of technologies.
Infographic of the Prosumer Community of Interest
Infographic of the PROSEU Living Labs