Energy solidarity refers to the measures and mechanisms established by energy communities (ECs)* to alleviate energy poverty, among their members or in the broader community.
With the aim of helping all ECs and community energy organisations tackle energy poverty at the local level, developing an Energy Solidarity Toolkit (EST) is a main output of CEES. The need for such a toolkit is great: in developing its H2020 proposal, CEES received 71 letters of support from ECs and other entities (e.g. municipalities) across 14 European countries. CEES anticipates validation of mechanisms in the toolkit will support their rapid uptake in efforts to:
- recognise and legitimise the issue of energy poverty
- alleviate energy poverty across and/or beyond the community
- develop energy know-how and skills among energy-poor households
- promote efficiency across the energy system
- build participation and connections within the community and between the community and other communities/organisations.
To promote broad uptake and replication of socially innovative and inclusive strategies, the Toolkit will highlight ways to make use of existing ecosystems and tools. Featuring both technical and non-technical approaches (also referred to as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ measures), the toolkit will encompass several aspects:
- ways to identify vulnerable households
- strategies to engage both households and the right networks of people and organisations
- implementing effective action, by customising and combining hard and soft measures
- establishing necessary support frameworks in terms of legal, regulatory, and financial and nonfinancial schemes
- finding ways to measure the impact of actions, for individuals in energy poverty and for ECs as a whole.
In addition to accounting for factors such as climate, housing quality and income levels, the toolkit will help ECs consider relevant cultural, political and legislative differences when implementing good practices.
Menu of good practices
The EST will be built up with case studies, reports, ‘how-to’ manuals, guides and communications materials. Importantly, it will contain good practices identified and assessed by CEES, which ECs can ‘mix and match’ in ways that will deliver the greatest impact in their specific contexts.
The toolkit design will follow the ‘identify-assess-alleviate methodology’ and will have specific focus on legal and regulatory barriers to action as well as on financing issues. Importantly, it will feature mechanisms and/or actions that facilitate energy sufficiency, resilience and autonomy of households while demonstrating financial sustainability for entities offering programmes.
* When using ‘EC’, CEES includes diverse types of community energy organistions.