Finalisation of Energize Co2mmunity Project

Today signals the end of Energize Co2mmunity, the extension project of the original Co2mmunity project.

Over the last 12 months, it is safe to say that the original aims and targets have been reached and surpassed. There are countless examples of successful development of pilot projects, fostering transnational collaboration and extending our stakeholder reach. So much so, that there are already informal agreements amongst the team for ongoing exchange.

As a project, the partners have worked tirelessly together to overcome barriers to implementing and empowering renewable energy communities. At the same time, they have raised significant questions in order to proactively meet future challenges head-on and act as examples for those to come.

The RENCOP model – Renewable Energy Cooperation Partnership – has been successfully promoted as a solution, with many of the partners having inspiring stories to tell about their own journeys with their fellow citizens.

We concluded the formal component of our project this morning with our final online meeting, by enjoying films from last week’s meeting, swapping anecdotes and expressing our gratitude for the journey that was, and one that will continue in some form or another.

Final Meeting in Denmark: Day 2

Samsø, Denmark: the meeting place for Day 2 of the final conference for Energize C02mmunity. This island was an auspicious location for us to hold our final meeting, as it is 100% powered by renewables, such as wind, solar and biomass, and manages to export up to 40% of its energy generated to the Danish mainland. Its citizens live as CO2 negative – emissions are calculated at minus 3.7 tonnes per inhabitant.

We spent our time at the Energiakademiet, on the eastern side of the island. Apart from existing an exemplary example of how future energy production could look like, Energiakademiet is a well-established meeting point for like-minded groups to collaborate on projects.

The sweeping vistas provided by the floor-to-floor windows, together with the minimalist design and architecturally designed solar panels, provided an outstanding environment for the partners to come together for exchange.

The day kicked-off with pairing meetings between the 6 partners, in which previous activities and achievements were celebrated, and future possibilities for collaboration and knowledge share were explored. We were then treated to a guided tour to experience a taste of the island renewable energy examples, such as the century’s old mill and wind turbines.

Final Meeting in Denmark: Day 1

On the 22nd and 23rd September, we held our final conference in Denmark, with representatives from all our partners attending the sessions both online and in person. It was a momentous occasion, as some colleagues had not seen each other in person for some time.

Day 1 began with a welcome speech from the mayor of Middelfart Municipality – Johannes Lundsfryd Jensen. Johannes spoke about the importance of the Energize Co2mmunity project and the significance of hosting the conference in Middelfart, in the wake of their successful climate festival.

Following this, the project teams presented their pilots; a summary of their humble beginnings, through to their respective challenges and milestones. Here there was an impressive display of different models and project trajectories: the outcome of which was made possible through individual team efforts and transnational pairings.

That afternoon, participants boarded a bus to the village of Føns. We experienced first-hand the local heating plant, which not only utilises pre-existing infrastructure but also results in huge CO2 savings every year.

Sol over Brenderup was next on the agenda – a citizen-powered solar PV initiative – which was an incredible lesson in the power of how social ties can bring about real change in energy structures.

The day concluded with a ferry trip to the energy island of Samsø.

Mārupe renewable energy festival


On September 18, the first Mārupe municipality conversation festival “Green, Independent and Powerful” was held (in Latvia). The event took place in the yard of Jaunmārupe Primary School and was dedicated to the development of renewable energy communities.

Focus questions included a discussion on the available solutions for green energy, whether independence can be gained from the common energy market and how common or individual production models stand in terms of profitability.

During the festival, visitors had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of residents who have already introduced renewable energy production facilities in their households.

Three seminars on solar and wind energy were given on the central stage, before TV personality Uģis Joksts took to the stage. Meanwhile, in the other pavilion, younger participants were able to learn about energy production, and even participate in a few hands-on experiments.

The festival was attended by representatives from the Solar Energy Association, the Wind Energy Association, the Alliance for Cross-Sectoral Sustainable Development, Mārupe Municipality, Christian Andersen (Germany) and others.

Middelfart hosts climate festival

Last weekend, thousands of participants attended Klimafolkemødet: Middelfart’s annual climate festival (Denmark). This meeting puts climate at the top of the agenda for three whole days, and is geared towards citizens, professionals and politicians alike.

‘Climate Action Together’ was this year’s theme and was held in cooperation with a wide range of organisers. The aim of the Climate People’s Meeting is simply to inspire action and create solutions – for decision-makers, businesses, organisations and citizens.

What started off as a local initiative, is now regarded as a national event. This edition of the Klimafolkemødet was the largest so far, with estimates of between 5,000 and 10,000 people in attendance.

Further information can be found here (in Danish):

Photo: Claus Fisker/Klimafolkemødet

Invitation: Final Meeting in Denmark

On the 22. and 23. September we will host our final meeting in Denmark. Over the two days, we will hear from the six renewable energy projects who have been working within their communities to realise a diverse range of pilots. Topics will range from solar PV installation to common purchase of heat pumps to geothermal heating infrastructure.

We are looking forward to hearing the achievements and outlook of the transnational pairings between project partners and input from external stakeholders, such as the Energiakademiet on Samsø!

The event will be hybrid, with the opportunity to participate both remotely during the online sessions and in-person for project partners in Middelfart and Samsø. For online participation, please register here


Estonian and Finnish pairing meeting

Today we had an online pairing meeting between our Finnish and Estonian partners, with a total of 15 people participating.

Green Net Finland presented their housing development pilot in Husulanmäki, which has recently begun initial utility works. Particularly interesting was the description of how the technical and geological assessment interacted with current and future design considerations

Next up we had a presentation on the Solar PV pilot in Tartu, Estonia. The team is steaming ahead working on the technical aspects of energy capacity possibilities and assessing the legal and financial aspects of the proposed operating models.

Participants commented that it was particularly interesting to see the contrast between the two projects: one pilot will result in a renewable energy housing development which makes best use of the surrounding environmental constraints at Husulanmäki. The other, representing Estonia’s first example of an energy community initiated by a municipality.

The new and innovative directions being explored as part of this meeting set the stage for an exciting final meeting next month in Denmark!

Latvian and German partners visit projects

From the 18th to the 20th August, delegates from Riga City, Riga Energy Agency, Mārupe Municipality and Riga Planning Region (Latvia) joined representatives from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Kiel City and Kiel University (Germany). The team from Latvia travelled to Schleswig-Holstein in Germany to take part in a three-day pairing meeting.

The first day consisted of an opening evening onboard a Kiel-based ship, with a presentation given by Kiel City about their aims towards a Climate Protection City. Themes included the Climate Protection Masterplan, the focus on community engagement, knowledge sharing and awareness building.

Day two was a field trip to visit Schleswig-Holstein’s renewable energy projects. Participants visited the small village of Sprakebüll to view their wind farm, solar park and district heating projects. This followed with a journey to the northern end of the state, with a presentation about Flensburg’s climate protection masterplan, together with the surrounding region and the local climate cooperation.
Solar PV and REN-district heating were given the spotlight in Hürup, with a guided walk through the village, before ending the tour in the town of Schleswig. The Stadtwerke Schleswig, a 100% community-owned public service company, showcased their cold district heating with near-surface heat collectors, ice energy storage and heat pumps.

The final day of the pairing meeting between Latvia and Germany saw the site visits continue, with a visit to Wiemersdorf (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany). Here, team members were able to visit a community-powered wind farm and a carbon sink by recharging humus.

Danish partner gets featured on national TV

Our Danish partners were recently featured on the prime time broadcasting network DR, with the Climate Minister being addressed directly. Around 650,000 viewers tuned in.
The 20-minute discussion demonstrated how many renewable energy projects are exposed to “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) attitudes. The Minister is very aware of the importance of improving processes and discussing future pathways for “Yes In My Back Yard” renewable energy projects.
Sol-over-Brenderup, the community energy project we presented to you earlier, was also featured. Here local initiators described how citizen involvement has been essential to the success of the project, ensuring that the project is met with enthusiasm through participation.
Barriers to community energy were delivered to the minister by our project partner, Middelfart Municipality climate manager Morten Westergaard, who is convinced that the Danish authorities can use their positive experience with this project to make the process easier for future solar and wind energy projects.
Link to article (Danish), here.  And the Link to the film clip here.

Community energy ambitions in the city of Tartu

The city of Tartu has set ambitious goals for a full transition to renewable energy, with energy communities being seen as an efficient and appropriate way to implement these plans. Tartu city, in cooperation with the Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA), aims to establish the first functioning urban energy cooperatives with participation of citizens as an example for others. A recent newspaper article about these developments introduces the nature of energy cooperatives, describes different models and lists the benefits for community members and citizens in general.

Here is the link to article (in Estonian, with paywall).