Policymakers want to unlock Renewable Energy (RE) to meet their GHG reduction targets. Currently, they can only turn to the establishment of energy producers to realise their objectives. These traditional actors are slowly becoming interested in RE but are very reticent to share socio-economic benefits with the local communities concerned. The result is a growing public resentment (NIMBY) and a failing market for RE.
Characteristically, RE allows for distributed production and for involving local communities. Bio-Energie Dörfer in DE are the best proof of this: actively involving local communities in their RE production is a feasible way to address the failing RE market.
Especially rural areas and farmers offer the physical and social resources needed for a decentralised, community based approach to providing RE.However, emerging local community initiatives are presently facing barriers. They lack adequate knowledge (of finances, technology, marketing, and management), which prevents them from becoming reliable RE providers. Numerous policymakers have indicated, therefore, that an effective exchange of knowledge is needed to speed up the RE transition.
We aim to accelerate the growth of local Energy Community Co-Operatives (ECCOs), both in effectiveness and in numbers. We will achieve this by bringing ECCOs together and linking them up with relevant sources of knowledge from around NWE to overcome the barriers they face at present. Additionally, we will inspire policymakers and community groups to initiate their own ECCOs and, subsequently, we will facilitate their initiatiation and development processes. By designing and establishing a transnationally connected Accelerator Network (AN), we build the organisational structure that secures that the support activities are continued after the project has ended. The large number of policymakers and organisations that have already signed up as associated partners to this project are seen as a first testimony of commitment to the results we want to deliver.
We start off bottom-up with the combined experience and best practices of 9 existing ECCOs spread around NWE. The transnational work of these pilots will function as 'beacons' for us during the project period and beyond to inspire policymakers and prospective ECCOs.
We will reach and engage 50 new ECCOs during the project, each producing at least 600 MWh RE on average, reducing GHG emissions by 7.500 tns/yr in total. The tangible demonstration of this potential will encourage other policymakers to adapt their policies in favour of ECCOs (20 policies expected in 10 years post project).
REScoop originated as an H2020 thematic EU network for mostly larger RE coopertives. The AN will make them well equipped to reach out to individual local ECCOs. This results in 500 additional ECCOs in 10 years post project, bringing the GHG reduction total up to 150.000 tns/yr.