Europe’s energy market is undergoing a fundamental transition from a system based on fossil fuels and nuclear power towards one based entirely on renewable energy. It is also transforming from a centralised market dominated by large utilities to a decentralised market with millions of active energy citizens or “prosumers”. Without prosumers, the energy transition is not possible. Empowering citizens to produce and consume their own energy is about democratising the energy system.
However, prosumers still face significant legal obstacles throughout the European Union including explicit legal restrictions, disproportionate administrative and planning procedures and punitive tariffs. With the right EU legal framework, prosumers could flourish and deliver a significant share of Europe’s renewable energy and provide important flexibility to the energy system through demand response. Already today, prosumers such as communities and cooperatives have transformed the energy market in many European countries while contributing significantly to revitalising the local economy and creating local jobs. Prosumers deliver a significant share of renewables investment and promote their local development and public support. In Germany for example, renewables deliver a third of Germany’s electricity and nearly every second kilowatt-hour (kWh) of this renewable electricity is generated by a broad range of prosumers.
This energy transition will require a considerable investment that will be paid for by citizens: as consumers, as tax payers or as money savers. Citizens therefore should be at the heart of this energy transition. They should have control of their energy production, transportation, distribution and their energy supply. REScoop.eu strongly believes that renewable energy cooperatives are ideal partners to lead the energy transition to energy democracy.