Who are we?
Co2mmunity is an INTERREG project in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Co2mmunity project partners. The project partners consist of 15 organisations from 8 different countries surrounding the Baltic including government, energy agencies, a municipal utility, and universities. The Project Partners page provides additional information regarding the partners and their project roles. Together we aim to support community energy project development and create an understanding among stakeholders.
What is community energy?
Community energy (CE) projects offer production 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 or biogas filling stations might even work only as CE projects. Plus, 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?
No comprehensive documents about CE exist in the BSR. Co2mmunity’s objectives are to create this CE knowledge base and to enhance the institutional capacities. 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. And of course we hope that the citizens and organisations directly involved in our pilot projects across the BSR will gain immediate benefits through the experience and the energy generated.
What will we do?
Renewable energy cooperative partnerships (RENCOPs) are the core of Co2mmunity as they initiate and support CE projects. In each partner region, Co2mmunity will initiate and manage a RENCOP. A transnational exchange of RENCOPs will result in a transferable RENCOP model and roadmap. This will enable a transnational catch-up process between frontrunners and followers as well as enhance 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 activities so far 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 Kaunas, September 2018
To support community energy projects, Co2mmunity studies, initiates, and develops regional partnerships of active organisations within the field of RENCOPs. The work is organised in three work packages that all have 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’. It has the following outputs:
- 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 said, 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