The EU has brought in new laws on renewables that will benefit energy co-ops across Europe, says sector body REScoop.
In a new booklet, published in collaboration with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Energy Cities, REScoop looks at the how the new legislation can remove barriers to community and citizen renewable energy.
The changes were introduced on 4 December, when the EU’s Transport, Telecommunications & Energy Council adopted the revised Energy Efficiency Directive, the revised Renewable Energy Directive and the new Governance Regulation.
This means the EU has adopted four of the eight legislative acts which make up the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, published by the European Commission on 30 November 2016. The package aims to make the EU the world leader in renewable energy.
The framework introduces the first national energy and climate plans and empowers consumers to become fully active players in the energy transition.
The EU also sets a new binding renewable energy target for 2030 of at least 32% and an energy efficiency target of at least 32.5%.
REScoop’s booklet, aimed at national and local energy campaigners, municipal members, local environmental groups, members of energy co-ops and active citizens, says the new legislation is “a game changer” for citizens.
“Citizens and energy communities across the EU now have a number of guarantees that ensure they are able to invest in renewables and benefit from the energy transition,” it says. “Acknowledgement of their role, support, and new citizens the right to produce, consume, sell and store renewable energy are all now enshrined in EU law.”
The legislation contains acknowledges different ways citizens can get involved in renewables, including through a renewable energy community.
And it states that governments must guarantee citizens the right to produce, store, consume and sell renewable energy. Member states are required to put in place frameworks that support citizens and communities investing in renewables, and to simplify administration and procedures for citizen-based projects.
They will also have to revise national legislation to ensure it is in line with EU laws, which will provide citizens and civil society a chance to campaign for supportive national policies and legislation, and for governments to promote renewable energy communities and self-consumption.
The booklet encourages renewable energy advocates to get organised with joint campaigning targeting their national government officials.