Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Community energy projects raise the awareness and acceptance towards the energy transition, and therefore help fight climate change and environmental damages.
At Blueprint, we have strong commitment to supporting energy transition using advanced digital technologies and this year we joined #BlockStart Partnership Programme that is helping blockchain/ DLT startups & SMEs to introduce their solutions to market to further advance the concept of local sustainable energy communities.
THE TIME IS NOW!
The concept of energy community is indeed a key point in the design of the future European energy infrastructure and it implies the strict collaboration of market players (system operators, utilities), governments and citizens all aiming together to develop smart energy delivery, using renewable sources and technology innovation in distributed generation with benefits for economy, sustainability and energy security.
The success of the energy community paradigm relies on many things: renewable sources and generation system availability, innovative technological solutions, normative regulation, political, psycho-social and cultural dimensions. Those conditions need to be sustainable for all community members.
Based on the EU’s Clean Energy for all Europeans package, Austria is one of the first countries in Europe, which has presented draft legislation on so-called energy communities. Energy communities are supposed to foster the decentralization of renewable energy generation and increase citizen participation in renewable energy projects.
Attractive measures are proposed - for example, these regional communities will be exempt from the obligation to pay Electricity Duty (currently 1.5 cent/kWh).
Design of these communities stems from grass roots of municipalities and neighbours working together on one side, and agile startup developers and adopters on the other. Part of the unique concept that makes ECs a success story rely on peer-to-peer (P2P) trading can greatly reduce overall operation costs of the power system and ultimately reducing consumers’ electricity bills. For example: P2P trading platform has saved an average of 400 EUR per year for its energy consumers on annual electricity bills and helped solar rooftop system owners double the savings they normally get from their solar plants. When backed by blockchain, one community has helped consumers save 10% of their electricity costs compared to a local utility. In terms of endgame, and focusing on the impact, recently published article by Smartgridobserver claims that expanding local solar and storage could save ratepayers nearly a half a trillion dollars.
By placing democratic control, shared benefits and active participation at the centre of project delivery, community energy could create the foundation for the significant infrastructural and cultural change we need to address the threat of climate change and energy insecurity. As adopters, we aim to be one of the pioneers navigating through complex regulatory framework that still remains one of the large obstacles to application of digital solutions in the energy market and we look forward to being part of energy transition pioneering success stories in 2021 and beyond.