Renewable. Community. Energy.
Co2mmunity is a network of organizations which are scattered across eight different countries in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Our mission is to facilitate community energy (CE) project development as part of a transition to renewable energy sources. To achieve this mission we create local partnerships for energy project development, provide knowledge, develop tools, and organise stakeholder meetings. Instead of working in isolation, we exchange ideas and experiences while continuously supporting one another. Doing so will help us improve our understanding of CE barriers and enablers, and thus relay the aquired knowledge to policy makers. Therewith, the Co2mmunity project contributes to the European Union’s vision of providing Clean Energy for all Europeans. The infographic below shows the different outputs of our project, and you will find much more information in the text that follows.
Who are we?
The Co2mmunity project is co-funded under the INTERREG programme by the European Regional Development Fund alongside the project partners’ own contributions. The project partners consist of 15 organizations including government, energy agencies, a municipal utility, and universities from eight different countries within the BSR. The Project Partners page provides additional information regarding the partners and their roles in Co2mmunity.
What is community energy?
CE projects offer generation of renewable energy (RE) from local sources such as solar, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal. Projects are developed and implemented through active participation of local communities, in which citizens work together to co-finance, co-develop, and co-operate RE plants. Sustainable energy distribution, such as local heating networks and biogas filling stations have a greater chance of success as CE projects. Furthermore, through active communication, transparent decision-making, and local benefit sharing CE projects have high social acceptance. All in all, fostering CE projects is highly promising for increasing the share of RE in the BSR.
Who benefits from our project?
There are currently no comprehensive documents concerning CE in the BSR. Therefore, one of Co2mmunity’s objectives is to fill this knowledge gap. From our shared experience, we created a CE knowledge base to help enhance institutional capacities to support local communities. These benefits will not only be felt by municipalities, but also institutions responsible for regional energy planning, political decision-makers, and both energy and citizen’s associations that facilitate CE projects. Of course, we hope that our pilot projects across the BSR will bring immediate benefits to the citizens and organisations involved.
What will we do?
Renewable energy cooperative partnerships (RENCOPs) are the core of Co2mmunity. A RENCOP is a local partnership that initiates and supports CE projects based on renewable energy sources. In each country, the local Co2mmunity partners will initiate and manage a RENCOP. The transnational exchange of experiences with local RENCOPs in the Co2mmunity project will result in a transferable RENCOP model and roadmap. This will enable a transnational catch-up process between frontrunners and followers as well as enhancing the capacity of local, regional, and BSR-wide actors to foster CE. Beyond this, Co2mmunity will develop a synthesis report on the current CE situation in the BSR, including a compilation of case studies. It will showcase success factors of CE projects that are transferable across contexts. We will also develop locally specific CE handbooks and white papers for public stakeholders. Co2mmunity’s planned outputs are detailed below and additional information on our current activities can be found on our RENCOP and CE project pages, as well as the project database created for Co2mmunity.
Above: The Co2mmunity team at the project meeting in Riga, March 2019
To support community energy projects, Co2mmunity studies, initiates, and develops regional partnerships of active organisations within the field of RENCOPs. The work is organised into three work packages, each with their own outputs.
To establish a sound knowledge base and make the generated knowledge available to the broader public, Co2mmunity has developed the work package ‘Developing a Community Energy Database for the Baltic Sea Region’. The outputs for the work package are:
- An online database of CE projects including an interactive map that allows interested parties to inform themselves about projects in their region
- A scientific review paper of CE barriers and drivers, providing a scientific input for other outputs and knowledge for citizens, project developers and policy makers
- A report on the current state of CE in the BSR
- Additional scientific articles on lessons learned in the RENCOP’s which have been established in each partner country
As previously mentioned, Co2mmunity will also establish RENCOPs in the partner regions and support the development of CE projects. The work in this area is packaged with the title ‘Facilitating Community Energy Projects with the RENCOP model’ and will result in the following outputs:
- A stakeholder map and analysis as well as RENCOP model for each partner country
- A guideline for mobilising partners for a RENCOP
- A transnational community energy project agreement, that can be used to put a project into writing
- A roadmap for RENCOP development, to help municipalities in your region to establish an effective support structure for community energy development
Last but not least, Co2mmunity recognises that political support will also be needed from national government. Accordingly, we will also work on ‘Bringing Community Energy on the socio-political Agenda’, which will result in the following outputs:
- A community energy handbook for each of the 8 partner countries providing the essential information on CE
- A white paper to inform national and regional actors on how to support and initiate CE
- A CE policy paper for actors of the BSR