19. June 2023Promoting energy communities for a just transition?
Join us for this webinar where we will consider how energy communities can be best promoted as part of just transitions next to more market-driven renewable energy projects.
WHEN: 5 July, 10:00-11:30 CEST
HOW: Register here
Throughout Europe, many cities & regions continue to rely on heavy industries, the extraction of fossil fuels and (energy) production from their combustion to secure local economic growth and generate electricity. These industries have been, and continue to be, a source of income and identity to local citizens despite the many environmental consequences and problems which typically come with such activities. Not simply EU policy, but also citizens and social actors are now demanding strong national commitments to heavily decarbonise heavy industries and to “power past coal”. Energy communities are often presented as an important part of coping strategies for those regions.
Just Transition Fund (JTF) territories have a real problem with rising unemployment, higher energy poverty levels as well as a general decrease of social cohesion as the long presence of carbon-intensive industries has often historically resulted in the creation of close-knit communities as well as a strong sense of identity and belonging. The promotion of renewable energies is therefore considered as a key driver for these regions, and it has been shown that there exists significant potential in terms of job creation, as well as meeting regional and local climate targets. At the same time, there is a risk that with an influx of large renewable energy infrastructure, these projects will create limited benefit to regional stakeholders. In other words, the bulk of income might actually flow out of the region instead of into the hands of local communities.
The promotion of energy communities can then contribute to the promotion of the socially inclusive uptake of renewables by building on established shared identities and contributing to a secure and affordable energy supply. Local and regional authorities have a key role in facilitating such models throughout Europe. At the same time, different interpretations of the concept as well as the complexity and implications of the industrial and structural change involved in JTF territories make it essential to introduce energy communities in a way which avoids adding to ever-increasing disparities of wealth, access, privilege, and comfort. In other words, energy communities also need to be just.
Join us for this webinar where we will consider how energy communities can be best promoted as part of just transitions next to more market-driven renewable energy projects. Given the scale and speed at which JTF territories need to transition and decarbonize, how can we ensure that energy communities can indeed contribute to local transitions even when socio-political contexts might be less conducive to such solutions?