by: Niklas Mischkowski, ICLEI Europe
Under the facilitation of the EU Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), sixteen projects working on Renewable Energy Systems (RES) met in November 2020 to exchange ideas regarding their activities and discuss plans for creating a brighter future for Europe.
There are many exciting new developments and ambitious goals in the field. With the renewable energy directive and in the European Green Deal era, the targets for emissions reductions, the share of renewable energies, as well as the energy efficiency targets are solid. In short, we are targeting climate neutrality by 2050, which all sixteen projects support.
The social dimension of energy transitions will be increasingly on the EU’s agenda and the projects in attendance are willing to put their best feet forward to ensure implementation. This commitment is highlighted by a recent joint publication on Horizon2020 project results.
Further, the Clean Energy Package from the European Union acknowledges for the first time the concept of ‘energy communities’ as a tool to empower consumers and to develop citizen-led prosumption models. Herein truly lies the potential for social innovations and different models to work on energy systems transformations – you can explore great examples of such innovations in the latest SONNET infographic and in the SMARTEES video blog.
In order to ensure successful energy transitions it is crucial to acknowledge potential challenges. The main challenges to successful energy transitions lies in creating acceptance by managing structural transitions in a socially just manner. The participants agreed that it is crucial to ensure early participation of citizens in co-designing policies in their projects, sharing insights on successful transitions and lessons learned.
Both SONNET and SMARTEES partners are looking forward to deepening collaboration within the energy transition community and will continue to energize the local stakeholders in the process.
Background: The meeting was attended by representatives from six ‘social sciences and humanities projects’ (SMARTEES, PROSEU, NEWCOMERS, SONNET, COMETS, SOCIALRES, ENERGY- SHIFTS), and eight ‘RES market uptake’ projects (WINWIND, COME-REV, PVProsumers4Grid, EUHeroes, iDistributedPV, DRES2Market, Crowdthermal, LIGHTNESS).