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

Reporting period: 2021-12-01 to 2023-02-28

The energy transition calls for a shift from fossil to renewable energy sources (RES), as well as a re-consideration of 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 (RECs) have gained importance and have a huge potential in our future energy system. RECs organise collective energy actions around open, democratic participation and governance, thereby generating tangible benefits for local communities.
COME RES aims to facilitate the RES market uptake in the electricity sector supporting the implementation of the provisions for RECs as defined in the new Renewable Energy Directive-REDII to be transposed by the EU member states. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, COME RES aids the development of RECs in nine European countries (BE, DE, IT, LV, NL, NO, PL, PT and ES).
These countries 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 assisted the consortium to carry out the operational tasks.
The project is concluded. Its overall and specific objectives have been reached by:
i. analysing the potentials, barriers and drivers for RECs in the target regions,
ii. carrying out stakeholder dialogues in 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,
v. transferring the selected best practices to learning regions and initiating transfer roadmaps with operational steps
The consortium synchronised project activities with the transposition/implementation of the CEP and its provisions for RECs by help of policy labs.
The activities carried out can be subdivided in three broader areas:
• Analysis (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);
• Support (engaging stakeholders, connecting market actors and policy makers and thus supporting the transposition and implementation of the REDII and encouraging the development of new RECs);
• Transfer (making insights of the project widely available encouraging transfer processes, providing policy recommendations at various governance levels)
• Dissemination & Communication of outcomes and solutions.
The main outputs are:
• A report on the technical, socio-economic, legal, institutional and policy conditions in the COME RES target regions;
• The establishment of 9 country desks engaging stakeholders and policy makers and involving them in thematic workshops and policy labs. All activities were summarised in a report.
• Synthesis case studies of drivers and barriers analysing in-depth LV, NO, PL, PT and ES
• A report on the results of the stakeholder consultation in all COME RES countries
• Four proposals for action plans to enhance the development of RECs in IT, PL, PT and ES.
• A report on novel financing instruments for RECs and one on tailor-made business models for RECs in four target regions
• A portfolio of 21 good practices and a synthesis report with in-depth assessment of 10 transferable best practices
• Four capacity development and transfer workshop reports and four best practice transfer roadmaps for learning regions.
• Comparative assessment of enabling frameworks for RECs and the Final Policy Report and Recommendations)
On the side of the immediate exploitation of the results
• a Sustainability Scorecard for RECs incorporated in the Energy Community Platform developed jointly with which acts as one-stop-shop for RECs
The outreach work has produced valuable results with a high visibility:
• A Layman final results publication “Advancing Renewable Energy Communities in Europe” also translated in all COME RES languages
• A Portfolio with 4 fact sheets/ a Dossier with 4 Newsletters also including 4 policy briefs in English and all COME RES languages
• Regular reports and communication from a number of country desks in English and the respective languages documented on the respective sections on the web site
• Several published articles in technical journals. Three scientific articles published, one further accepted in peer-reviewed impact journals in open access/ Three further articles submitted to peer reviewed impact journals.
COME RES contributes to strengthen empirical research on RECs, provides cross-country comparisons of enablers and barriers promotion and financing instruments, business models and economic opportunities for RECs in a European perspective.
The project included one of the first studies with a detailed review of the enabling frameworks and elaborated a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the performance transposing Art. 22(4) of the REDII in 9 countries. A Policy Report summarising cross-country policy lessons, recommendations for the EU and for national/regional policy makers illustrates policy relevant research results. Finally, COME RES has ensured its impact over its lifetime by creating an online platform which is going to support the development of future RECs, guiding them through the whole process – from the technology choice, layout and scale, the definition of the business plan as well as future implementation and management.
COME RES has the ambition to feed project findings into policy formulation processes particularly at national and regional, but also EU level and has already started exerting an impact on the policy process during project’s lifetime. Especially the country desks with their policy labs, but also the 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 and the participation in the final conference of key regional policymakers. In LV, IT and ES, project partners have been engaged in advising the respective institutional actors and provided input to the development of REC legislation on Moreover, several partners participated in public consultations processes related to the transposition of RED II and were involved in parliamentary committees. In Latvia, as a result of this continuous engagement, COME RES has been mentioned twice in the annotation of the Latvian Energy Law and Electricity Market Law.
In several cases, spin-offs or follow-ups from the country desks activities are in the making. The transfer process facilitated by COME RES in Spain ignited a collaboration framework which is going to continue between the selected mentoring organisation and the Gran Canaria Energy Council leading to policy development and a REC creation in the Canary Islands. Memoranda of Understanding that have informally manifested the commitment of the actors involved in three transfer cases are a promising sign that the dialogue and cooperation initiated within the COME RES country desks will reach beyond project´s lifetime.
COME RES Technologies