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Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub

Benefits

There is a wide diversity of interests and motivations to engage in energy communities. The drivers range from environmental consciousness and a desire to produce green electricity to greater ownership of local energy infrastructure.

Communities can bring the following benefits:

Local value

Energy communities can help to implement local sustainability projects that can achieve energy independency, reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty, as well as contribute to the local economy. They can generate local jobs and avoid the outflow of financial resources from the region (Kunze and Becker, 2014). In terms of energy provisions, members of an energy community can benefit from financial gains on their energy bills because of reduced grid fees and energy costs.

Energy citizenship and democracy

Citizens have democratic control over energy investments by becoming co-owners of renewables installations, usually through the principle of one member one vote. Participation in renewables ownership and decision-making can either be direct, in which case members approve decisions in assembly meetings and decide how the surplus is distributed (Hanna, 2017); or indirect participation through a board of directors, as in the case of EWS Schönau eG.