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New Report on Stimulating Community Energy Investment

(9 December 2020) Citizen-led renewable energy projects – commonly known as “community energy” – can play an important role in the energy transition and a post-COVID recovery by maximising the local socio-economic benefits of renewables and increasing public support for the energy transition.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action’s latest white paper reviews measures that stimulate and sustain community energy. Although renewable energy investments by citizens and communities have gained traction in many countries, knowledge exchange on a global level has been limited. This paper fills the gap by showcasing policy measures and financing mechanisms that reflect best practices and offering recommendations to governments and financial institutions on how to accelerate community energy development and reap its benefits.

To scale up community energy investments, the Coalition for Action recommends the following seven actions for governments and financial institutions:

  • Build awareness and develop a shared understanding of community energy.
  • Adopt targets and policy designs that value citizen participation and local socio-economic development.
  • Establish dedicated agencies or one-stop shops to support community energy.
  • Facilitate community access to capital through targeted public finance.
  • Support innovative financing mechanisms and business models for community energy projects and the most vulnerable.
  • Encourage aggregation of and collaboration between community energy projects.
  • Integrate community energy in energy access and local development programmes.

To view the IRENA Coalition for Action white paper, please click here.

The press release is available in English & German.

Media contact: Charlotte Hornung / +49 30 609898815 / hornung@energywatchgroup.org

 

Statements by the EWG’s co-authors of the community energy white paper

Charlotte Hornung

“The active involvement of citizens and communities worldwide has helped to keep the costs of renewable energy low and the acceptance of the energy transition high. And yet community energy projects still face significant challenges that limit their enormous potential. We therefore call upon policy-makers to urgently establish framework conditions that create a level playing field for community energy and do not leave this key actor behind.”

Hans-Josef Fell

“The community energy white paper clearly shows that community energy is indispensable for the rapid deployment of renewable energy in order to meet the global climate goals. Especially the EU member states and particularly Germany are called upon to immediately implement the EU directive on the support of community energy. Legislators all over the world should grant fixed feed-in tariffs for investments up to 50 MW instead of auctions, as civic investors usually cannot participate in auctions.”

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About the Coalition

The IRENA Coalition for Action brings together leading renewable energy players from around the world with the common goal of advancing the uptake of renewable energy. The Coalition facilitates global dialogues between public and private sectors to develop actions to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and accelerate the global energy transition. www.irena.org/coalition

About the Energy Watch Group

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit think-and-do tank based in Berlin. We are dedicated to accelerating political action towards renewable energy and climate protection through scientific analysis, policy advice and dialogue. www.energywatchgroup.org