Lille, France, October 3rd, 2014
Registration to this event is available here.
The dominant model of energy infrastructure has historically been conceived as very centralized, with hardly any consumer involvement in energy production. Yet, an increasing number of citizens, scholars and policy-makers advocate the generalization of a more decentralized configuration, implying geographically dispersed and small-scale generation units located close to consumers. In turn, this configuration requires an active role from energy users, the latter becoming themselves “prosumers” or co-providers of energy services. Consumer participation is a major concern, due to the increasing threats posed by climate change and other energy-related challenges.
In this context, it becomes thus quite meaningful to study factors likely to foster consumer participation. Among other models, community energy systems, i.e. formal or informal citizen-led initiatives which propose collaborative solutions to foster the development of energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies, may have an important role to play. Renewable energy cooperatives are one example of such initiatives. These are organizations directly owned and controlled by consumers that develop and manage sustainable energy generation assets. However, the degree of recognition of the potential contribution of citizens to the energy transition varies enormously across Europe. While it is fully embraced and supported in some countries it continues to be ignored in others. In any case, the increased social praxis around community energy systems and their political relevance have opened a door for social science research to complement research existing on this topic.
This 1st Symposium on the Emergence of Community Energy Systems will be co-organized by the EMES International Research Network and the Federation of European Renewable Energy Cooperatives, REScoop.eu, in parallel to a three-day meeting of the REScoop20-20-20 project in Lille (France). This 1st Symposium aims at encouraging the formation of an international network of scholars working on community energy systems and citizen-led initiatives, taking stock of the latest on research on the area, and identifying opportunities for future collaborations.