Exploring Institutional and Socio-Economic Settings for the Development of Energy Communities in Europe

Energy communities (ECs), intended as collective action initiatives in the energy field involving citizens’ participation, have been gaining relevance for the past decades as an alternative way to organize the energy chain to challenge the incumbent system. With Europe’s recently adopted Clean Energy Package, ECs found a formal recognition by the European Union as potential actors of the transition of the energy system towards a wider and more decentralized use of renewable sources. Although the potential role of ECs in the transition is therefore hardly questionable, a thorough comprehension of the enabling factors that might foster their diffusion and scaling up is still lacking. Through a comparative analysis of the evolutionary trajectories in six EU countries regarding their energy systems, their regulatory frameworks and their historical evolution of ECs, namely through the example of cooperative models, this paper aims at providing some preliminary evidence about the factors and dynamics that seem to have played, and may play, a role in hampering or facilitating EC model diffusion. Attention is therefore specifically paid to three dimensions of analysis referring to: the energy mix and market structure; the institutional and policy landscape; the wider social attitudes towards environmental issues and cooperation among citizens. In addition to providing a wide comparison of different EU countries, the paper shows that the historical evolution pathways have to be carefully taken into account to understand what might trigger ECs exploitation in the EU.

Authors:Alessandro Sciullo, Barbara Curli, Chiara Candelise, Dario Padovan, Erika Meynaerts, Esther van der Waal, Gregory Winston Gilcrease, Henny van der Windt, Jay Sterling Gregg, Lucia Polo-Alvarez, Marek Muiste, Mario Perugini, Nele Ivask, Osman Arrobbio, Sarah Delvaux, Wit Hubert
Published year:2022
Content type:Journal article
File: Download
Orbit ID:920bbb17-8621-4efe-870f-b0df318e7f83
Is current:Current
No. of pages:22