Tired of waiting for big energy companies to procure clean energy, energy communities are clubbing together to take advantage of the low prices renewable energy offers
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From FORESIGHT Climate & Energy, Watt Matters is a podcast all about the energy transition and the shift to a decarbonised economy.
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A growing trend within the energy transition is the use of energy communities – collectives of neighbours or nearby residents and end-users coming together to promote and source renewable energy for their own benefit.
Yet this shift away from the traditional centralised energy system brings with it its own set of challenges.
Our guest on the podcast this week is Anna Francis, a project manager with a particular interest in energy communities from Energy Cities—a European Association of local authorities working on the energy transition.
Enjoy the show.
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Illustration: Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva.
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Thousands of buildings across Europe will need to be renovated on an unprecedented scale if climate and greenhouse gas reduction targets are to be met. Lawmakers’ minds are turning to how best to undertake the Herculean task
Local community groups are often seen as being against renewable energy sites or other projects to support the energy transition. But there is a rise in different ownership and funding models that includes local residents who do want to support the quest for a decarbonised economy
All levels of government have a role to play in helping communities manage their energy transition, says Carsten Rothballer at ICLEI
The cost-effectiveness and flexibility of solar photovoltaic power are leading to a raft of new energy business models to help middle- and low-income households participate in the energy transition
Smart buildings are energy-saving, sustainable buildings. Clustered into smart city districts, they play a crucial role in climate protection. The adaptive, open-source technology to make this possible is already available, says Matthias Rebellius of Siemens Smart Infrastructure
As the energy landscape changes, so too could the geopolitical spectrum. Nations that have derived power and wealth from coal, oil and gas face an adapt-or-die moment while countries with the natural resources central to decarbonisation could find themselves holding more cards
As technology costs come down and microgrids become increasingly “smart” using more advanced digital tools, their role in integrating distributed energy resources is set to expand. By providing flexibility to the local distribution system and deferring the need for expensive transmission upgrades, microgrids are facilitating the electrification and decarbonisation of the energy networks
Municipal electricity utilities have a long history in Europe, with more emerging as cities look to lead the energy transition. The model has obvious advantages but has also suffered setbacks in some markets. In an increasingly competitive landscape, using the benefits of private partners may be the way forward
Governments are increasingly legislating for the building of new net-zero housing. But improving the green credentials of the existing housing stock is a much more difficult path to navigate. Now communities are being empowered to clean up their homes through collective action
Deliberative forums involving members of the public will help advance an ambitious energy transition
The argument for natural gas as a bridge to a cleaner renewable future has grown weaker as the case for electrification as the most efficient way to decarbonise has grown
After achieving its own clean energy transition, the Danish island of Samsø is now advising towns and regions worldwide how to follow in its footsteps, and sees its next role as a test ground for innovative energy solutions
CASE STUDY: The Cornwall Local Energy Market in the UK trialled algorithms to optimise auctions of power increase or load reduction offers while allowing simultaneous purchases of flexibility by different levels of grid operation
The expansion of distributed energy resources has precipitated the rise of advanced software platforms to manage them. Virtual power plants and distributed energy resource management systems can help integrate renewables and low-carbon assets more smoothly while allowing value from the flexibility that resources like rooftop solar, battery storage, electric vehicles and heat pumps can also provide to be extracted
Grids need to accommodate a host of new and variable low-carbon assets, but who should manage how they operate and what they get paid remains a thought exercise despite the changes already happening
Changes need to be made to how electricity markets are managed so that they can handle the pace of the energy transition, but there is little consensus about what tweaks are actually required
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