Energy citizenship is crucial for the energy transition as it places citizens at the forefront of sustainable energy initiatives. It fosters active participation, trust, and engagement, enabling a more inclusive and effective transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Energy citizenship emphasises citizen involvement in energy transition processes, enabled by legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks. The current lack of effective regulatory mechanisms regarding the establishment and operation of collective citizen-driven initiatives, including energy communities and energy cooperatives presents various hurdles that hinder citizen participation in the energy market and the energy transition.
The Center for the Study of Democracy held the policy workshop Strengthening Energy Citizenship: Policy Solutions and Tools to Support Collaborative Policy-Making on 24 January 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. The aim of the event was to provide an interface for a discussion on the critical policy challenges and opportunities in encouraging civic participation in European energy transitions. Representatives of local government, energy communities, civil society organisations and independent experts from Catalonia and Barcelona took part in the deliberations about the current state of RES and energy citizenship uptake in the region and major barriers thereto.
Dr. Andrea Kollmann, Principal Research Coordinator of the Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, opened the workshop by highlighting cutting-edge developments in the theoretical and practical advancement of the energy citizenship concept. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Efe Biresselioğlu, Head of the Sustainable Energy Division at the Izmir University of Economics, presented an interactive policy support tool which assists policy-makers in classifying policy options and decisions with consideration to their prospective implications for civil involvement in energy systems.
The participants in the workshop shared their perspectives on possible pathways for constructing legal, regulatory and policy frameworks which strengthen public engagement. There was consensus among the exerts that energy citizenship has the potential to significantly contribute to achieving transition goals in terms of targets as well as fairness.
The event was organised as part of the DIALOGUES research initiative, in partnership with Multicriteria Planning Solutions MCRIT and CITCEA-UPC.