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Supporting Consumer Co-Ownership in Renewable Energies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SCORE (Supporting Consumer Co-Ownership in Renewable Energies)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-12-31

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (RE) sources requires motivating consumers to change their consumption habits so as to balance demand with a volatile energy supply and to accept new technologies like smart meters. Consumer co-ownership in RE – “Citizen Energy” – has proved successful in engaging consumers in financing RES, thus becoming “prosumers” which in turn induced positive behavioural changes in energy consumption. “Prosumer” models, however, are still not widely implemented across Europe. Moreover, the typical “prosumer” is still male, middle aged and with a higher in-come whereas the participation of women and social groups vulnerable to fuel poverty is uncommon.

With the passing of the 2018/19 EU Clean Energy Package and the transposition in particular of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and the Internal Electricity Market Directive (IEMD) into national law, consumer co-ownership in RE – both for individual prosumership and for Energy Communities (ECs) – received a new EU wide legal framework.

Project Objectives

SCORE responds to EE-06-2017“Engaging private consumers towards sustainable energy assisting consumers in becoming co-owners of RE installations empowering them and their municipalities. Concrete assistance for RE investments employing the inclusive CSOP financing technique aims at motivating citizens to increase EE and triggering a learning process among them, key to mitigate the rebound effect (the paradox that increased efficiency goes hand in hand with increased consumption): Only when prosumers have the choice between self-consumption and sale of the surplus electricity production, do we observe a statistically significant effect on consumption behaviour. Having this choice, every kilowatt-hour not consumed is a kilowatt-hour potentially sold providing a strong economic incentive for energy-efficient behaviour. In addition to low-income households, SCORE addresses women as being underrepresented and often belonging to the former.

Individual vs. Collective Empowerment – Empowerment in a vulnerability context must be more than the provision of consumer choices through access to information and consumption options. Here, the participation of vulnerable consumers in ECs as a form of collective empowerment has benefits beyond individual empowerment. Participating in a RE project may provide access to social groups other than one’s primary group when enshrined in a collective scheme like, e.g. a CSOP. Given that the socio-cultural context shapes among others, habits, values and norms which in turn have an impact on individual behaviour this is of particular importance for vulnerable households to overcome systemic disadvantages (e.g. higher rates of unemployment, lower education) and social isolation but also boosts the mentioned learning process.

Extending and modernizing the cooperative model – The cooperative model has been around since the 19th century and, where necessary, can be extended and modernized as a business and organizational model to meet the challenges in the RE sector. In contrast to cooperatives, the CSOP directly addresses the involvement of public authorities, e.g. local municipalities and strategic partners. It avoids obstacles related to the principle of self-governance and to the question of representation of municipalities on the board. At the same time members of an energy cooperative can participate in a CSOP when expanding an existing facility together with strategic partners or the trusteed entity in turn can be a cooperative. As a rule the CSOP will hold between 25 and 51% of the shares in the operating company of the RE-plant. Regarding the exercise of consumer’s voting rights, the CSOP offers flexibility: The articles of partnership may stipulate which matters are to be deliberated either by the trustee (e.g. day-to-day business) or voted by CSOP-members (e.g. strategic decisions). Again, as the CSOP business model uses the borrowing power of a corporation it enables the participation of vulnerable consumers that are underrepresented so far.
Facilitated consumers to become prosumers of RE and engage in energy efficiency (EE) measures, firstly in four pilot regions in Italy, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, secondly in 31 municipalities across Europe following the pilot projects (Follower Cities).

Reached out to more than 700 local authorities and 10,000 consumers demonstrating the positive impact co-ownership has on consumer behaviour and showing the ability of this democratic participation model to include underrepresented groups.

Empowered consumers and municipalities in a capacity-building program with more than 80 events both in the five partner countries and in other EU Members States and through the launch of an interactive online “RE Prosumer Investment Calculator”.

Delivered policy recommendations to more than 150 EU and local decision makers to promote prosumership and to remove barriers for consumers to become active market players at the EU and national levels.

With regard to exploitation and dissemination, more in detail, SCORE delivered:

Over 133 Publications:
42 Academic peer-reviewed publications, 67 Website articles, blogs, posts on social media, magazines, TV and press releases 24 Newsletters and the SCORE brochure in 7 languages.

8 Audiovisual productions:
6 Films dedicated to the pilot projects, 1 Wrap-up of the CSOP model, 1 General presentation of SCORE

83 Events organized in 13 Countries with worldwide reach:
16 Workshops and 15 Meetings co-organized by SCORE, 3 Presentations directed at EU & national policy makers, 20 SCORE Conferences incl. the final conference and 27 Conference panels with SCORE representatives.

Outreach to public authorities:
Primarily via CA's city network but also through individual partner's contact SCORE reached out to more than 700 municipalities. 31 municipalities became Follower Cities of SCORE.

SCORE Website:
Access to our information repository, incl. an Online Calculator to simulate CSOP-financed PV projects for Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Our CSA directly contacted about:
10,000 individual households engaging with more than 2500 consumers in our RE projects 123.44 GWh primary energy efficiency savings 29,493 tons of C02e reduction triggered.
The SCORE consortium in particular is proud to present five landmark achievements that stand out from the project results:

(1) The first Italian hydro-power EC in Venaus practising electricity sharing over the public grid operative as of 27 December 2021;

(2) The conclusion of an agreement to set up a regional EC in the Susa Valley engaging 31 Municipalities with around 80,000 inhabitants and a total investment of EUR 60 mln.;

(3) The setting up of the Prague Renewable EC on 1 October 2021, one of the largest photovoltaic projects in the Czech Republic with a foreseen capacity of 500 MW and an investment of EUR 40 mln. stemming from an ELENA contract;

(4) One of the first German ECs to practice electricity sharing in 2022 embracing an institution for disabled children, a public school and a sports club;

(5) The development of an “Assisted CSOP” that permits the residents of homeless shelters in Poland to become co-owners in RE.
Details on the results of the SCORE project are accessible on the SCORE website (score-h2020.eu/).
SCORE Consortium team
SCORE Kick-off meeting_16.04.2018