Working Group Economic Geography

Co2mmunity. Co-producing and co-financing renewable community energy projects


The Europe 2020 strategy sets the goal to increase the renewable energy (RE) share to at least 20% of consumption. In the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) it ranges from 11% in Poland to 52% in Sweden, so some territories are frontrunners while others are followers or in early stages of development. A transnational exchange of experiences and capacity-building is needed to further promote RE. Fostering RE projects that are facilitated, implemented and co-financed by citizens, called community energy (CE), is highly promising for this.

CE projects offer enhanced production of RE from local sources (wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, geothermal) through active participation of local communities by co-financing, co-developing, and co-operating RE plants. They foster sustainable energy distribution, like local heating networks or biogas filling stations, and have high social acceptance due to active communication, transparent decision-making, and local benefit sharing.

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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 of Municipalities (TG1), Institutions responsible for regional energy planning and ERDF Operational Programmes (TG2), Political decision-makers responsible for energy issues in the BSR (TG3), and Energy and citizen’s associations (TG4) for facilitating CE projects. Core are renewable energy cooperative partnerships (RENCOP), that 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, enabling a transnational catch-up process between frontrunners and followers and enhancing the capacity of local, regional and BSR-wide actors to foster CE.

Co2mmunity’s activities will lead to five main outputs:
(1) synthesis report for TG1/2/3 on the current CE situation in BSR with best practices, showcasing place-specificities of CE projects and success factors transferable across contexts; (2) guideline for participatory mobilization process for TG1/4, including general and country-specific steps to stimulate CE projects on regional/local level;
(3) RENCOP roadmap for TG1/2 as BSR-wide guideline to foster CE;
(4) country-specific CE handbooks for TG1/4 enhancing their institutional capacity through CE development guidelines;
(5) white paper for TG2 enabling them to derive concrete measures for improving regulatory frameworks for CE projects in their territories.

Altogether, Co2mmunity will foster RE deployment in the BSR through improving RE acceptance and development conditions via CE models. Co2mmunity will promote democratic and participatory processes in the energy sector and further the transnational co-operation of stakeholders representing all BSR governance levels. 

Kiel University is lead partner of this project, Robert Hassink is the main researcher.

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INTERREG-BSR (Baltic Sea Region)