EU Climate Policy long term goals are aiming at cutting of GHG emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels. This target strongly relies on higher RES decentralized energy production. Nevertheless, in many cases, RES projects come across skepticism and resistance by local communities. At the same time, medium and big scale RES investments share limited benefits with local communities and deliver low social impact. Also, RES investments are failing to provide direct tangible solu????ons for tackling energy poverty – especially in urban areas. In order to encourage the active involvement of local communities, tackle energy poverty and increase social acceptance of RES projects, the EU Renewable Energy Directive II introduced a new model, called “Renewable Energy Communities”. In countries, such as Greece, this directive has already been integrated into the national legal framework by passing the law 4513 (“Energy Communities”, 2018) – which also extends to community energy virtual-net metering for the first time in Europe.
RES community energy projects are implemented by local schemes in which citizens, local SMEs and local governments can actively participate as coinvestors, co-owners and beneficiaries. The level of social acceptance of such projects is considerably high and their community-led approach results on strengthening social cohesion and creating social capital. Still, there are several challenges that need to be addressed in order for the full potential of community energy to be unlocked. One of the key necessities is the development of a community energy model that will successfully balance between: From one hand- tackling energy poverty and increasing social acceptance and social cohesion. From the other hand – Becoming investment-ready, market-ready and economically viable.
EnerCom-EnerPov aims at developing a virtual-net metering community energy business model. The main focus will be on tackling urban energy poverty, delivering strong social impact and strengthening social cohesion in urban and rural areas. As this is the first time that such a model will be developed in Europe, a virtual-net metering community energy startup scheme (already under development) will serve as testbed in order to conduct a feasibility study based on existing and reliable data.
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