The Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub (RECAH) has announced the development of a guidance document aiming to explore the impact local authorities in rural areas can have by directly participating in sustainable energy communities. It will provide comprehensive guidance on how they can support and facilitate the development of sustainable energy communities and look at their potential role in setting up and leading these initiatives in collaboration with citizens.
The guidance document will recognise the unique opportunities and challenges that rural communities face and outline strategies and best practices for local authorities to effectively empower and promote the establishment and operation of energy communities. It will aim to provide local authorities with the necessary tools and knowledge to facilitate citizens’ participation in rural energy communities and the energy transition, and encourages proactive engagement.
It will cover crucial aspects that local authorities should consider when supporting rural energy communities. For instance, it highlights the importance of addressing policy and regulatory frameworks, demonstrating the need for municipalities to create an enabling environment for the growth of energy communities. By understanding and adapting policies to local contexts, local authorities can remove barriers and facilitate the smooth operation of renewable energy projects within their jurisdiction. It will also emphasise the importance of local authorities providing pertinent support, such as training programmes, research initiatives, community engagement, and networking for information sharing. Financial support will also be a key focus, with the guidance highlighting various avenues for local authorities to assist energy communities. This includes their ability to facilitate access to financial support, such as grants, low-interest loans, tax incentives, and funding opportunities for feasibility studies.
We encourage local authorities to explore this valuable resource once published, and to actively support the development of energy communities in their rural areas. By collaborating and embracing renewable energy solutions, local authorities can empower their communities, drive economic growth, and contribute to a sustainable future.
Lead author James Roscoe commented, ‘We are thrilled that soon we will introduce this comprehensive resource designed specifically for local authorities across Europe. There is a unique opportunity for local authorities to take a leading role in establishing sustainable energy communities in rural areas. We aim to equip them with the necessary tools and insights to create an enabling environment where rural energy communities can thrive. This document provides practical strategies and best practices to guide local authorities in their efforts to cultivate citizen engagement and participation in setting up rural energy communities.’
To stay informed about the release of this guidance document, ensure you are subscribed to our mailing list and keep an eye on the @Energy4Europe Twitter feed. Visit the resources page on the RECAH website to access all published guidance documents on setting up and maintaining rural energy communities and the Best Practices collection.
- Publication date
- 2 August 2023
- Directorate-General for Energy