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Community Energy for the uptake of RES in the electricity sector. Connecting long-term visions with short-term actions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COME RES (Community Energy for the uptake of RES in the electricity sector. Connecting long-term visions with short-term actions)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-11-30

The current energy transition is not only about making the shift from fossil to renewable energy sources, but also requires to reconsider how energy is produced and distributed. Next to traditional centralised distribution, with electricity being generated in large power plants and transported to the end-user, local renewable energy communities gain in importance and have a huge potential in our future energy system. They organise collective energy actions around open, democratic participation and governance, thereby generating tangible benefits for the local community.
COME RES aims to facilitate the market uptake of RES in the electricity sector supporting, with a set of specific activities, the implementation of the provisions for renewable energy communities (RECs) as defined in the new Renewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001 to be transposed by the Member states by June 30, 2021. Taking a multi- and transdisciplinary approach, COME RES aids the development of RECs in nine European countries (BE, DE, IT, LV, NL, NO, PL, PT, SP).
COME RES covers different socio-technological systems including community PV, wind (onshore), storage and integrated solutions.
The countries selected range from pioneers that have gained broad experience with community energy (CE) to countries where CE is in an embryonic stage.
Nine stakeholder desks consisting of the project partners and committed energy communities, cooperatives, municipalities, associations, public authorities, market and policy actors in each country assist the consortium to carry out the operational tasks.
The project is in its mid term phase. Some of the overall and specific objectives have been already reached by:
i) analysing the potentials, barriers and drivers for RECs in the target regions,
ii) carrying out stakeholder dialogues via country desks,
iii) selecting business-model proposals for the target regions,
iv) examining good/best practice cases that are transferable to specific local, regional and national contexts,

The consortium synchronises project activities with the transposition/implementation of the Clean Energy Package and its provisions for RECs by help of policy labs.
The activities carried out so far can be subdivided in three broader areas: Analysing (understanding the multidimensional aspect of RECs, assessing region specific potentials, challenges and barriers, and examining the different approaches and enabling frameworks of COME RES countries); Supporting (engaging stakeholders, connecting market actors and policy makers and thus supporting the transposition and implementation of the new EU legal framework, and encouraging the development of new RECs through sharing know-how and best practices); and Sharing (making insights of the project widely available encouraging transfer processes, providing policy recommendations at various governance levels, and disseminate and communicate outcomes and solutions of the project).

As of Month 15, the main outputs and results are:
- A report on the technical, socio-economic, legal, institutional and policy starting conditions in the COME RES target regions;
- The establishment and kick-off of each country desks, thematic workshops and policy labs with major stakeholders and policy makers in the target regions;
- Stakeholder identification and mapping
- A consolidated summary report of desk activities in the target regions highlighting the findings of the country thematic workshops and policy round tables;
- A report assessing existing organisational and legal forms on business models for RECs;
- A methodological framework for good/best practice selection and analysis;
- A good/best practice portfolio encompassing 21 cases;
- Project flyers in English and the eight languages of the consortium; two newsletters, two policy briefs and one fact sheet;
- Regular reports and communication from a number of country desks in the respective languages documented on the respective sections on the web site;
- Four published articles in technical journals. One scientific article submitted to and accepted by a peer-reviewed impact journal, one article published in open access and two further articles in advanced stage of preparation.
COME RES contributes to strengthen empirical research on renewable energy communities, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe (including East Germany), provides cross-country comparisons of enablers and barriers promotion and financing instruments, business models and economic opportunities for RECs in a European perspective.

The analysis of current conditions for RECs in the COME RES countries is nearly completed. Major foreseen tasks until the end of the project include the publication of ten in-depth assessments of transferable best practices, initiating the transfer of selected best practices, an analysis of novel financing instruments for RECs. Four target regions will be selected for tailor made business models for the specific regions. Furthermore, a sustainability scorecard for RECs and regional action plan proposals for the target regions will be prepared.
The transposition process of the RED II will be monitored continuously. A Policy Report summarising cross-country policy lessons, recommendations for the EU and for national/regional policy makers and a final conference will focus on policy relevant research results. Finally, COME RES will ensure its impact over its lifetime by creating an online platform which will support new RECs with a One-Stop shop, providing important insights from the project’s findings. The COME RES findings will be disseminated during the EUSEW 2022 and during the concluding COME RES conference, enhancing the policy dialogue to facilitate the market uptake of RECs.

COME RES has the ambition to feed project findings into policy formulation processes particularly at national and regional, but also EU level. In fact, COME RES accompanies and monitors the development of enabling frameworks for RECs in the partner countries required by RED II. Hence, COME RES tries to influence the future practice of community energy across the EU. Through the platform currently under construction, COME RES is going to support the development of future RECs, guiding them through the whole process – from the technology choice and sizing, the definition of the business plan and future implementation and management. Moreover, through the creation of a network of existing RECs, potential RE-communities and related stakeholders (that is going to grow during and after the end of the project), COME RES will also foster the creation of synergies between different RECs.

COME RES has already started exerting an impact on the policy process. Especially the country desks with their policy labs, but also the ongoing close contact to important national, regional and local stakeholders and policy makers provided opportunities to support the RED II transposition process. This engagement is documented on the website by endorsements of German, Italian, Spanish and Norwegian regional and local institutional actors and policy makers. In Latvia, Poland, Italy and Spain project´s partners have been engaged in advising the respective institutional actors and provided input to the development of the new legislation on RECs.
COME RES Technologies