by Sven Lankreijer, Alderman, Municipality of Eemnes
Can RENAISSANCE projec help the transition from individual consumption towards community mentality?
What does shifting the focus one community at a time mean? How will this happen?
By connecting consumers and prosumers with each other, the pilot should encourage homeowners to use the full potential of their roof. Such incentive has the potential to translate into anywhere between 10 and 20% more solar panel coverage.
Before the RENAISSANCE project made the pilot feasible, Eemnes was already an advanced municipality in terms of sustainability. Already today roughly 25% of the households in Eemnes have solar panels on the roof.
Helping to shift the focus means supporting local communities understand the added values of LEC. In fact, Eemnes community will be the first invited to discover the local energy trading pilot. The event is set for the 28th of November 2019 and although the general public has not been officially invited yet, we are already receiving enthusiastic comments. People we met on the streets of Eemnes are keen to get involved in first person and curiosity is tangible.
Nevertheless, it’s not just citizens that the pilot is looking to motivate: thanks to an exemption granted by the Dutch government, Eemnes will have the unique opportunity to test the limits of the energy market regulatory framework. RENAISSANCE project was granted such exemption to test its approach and to finally mobilise local energy communities.
The optimistic view is that much of the regulation is already in place. Perhaps more importantly, the pilot will facilitate the process for the energy supplier, Eemnes Energie with support from Klimaatmissie. The latter, together with the software provider i.LECO and supported by Bax & Company, will develop a business case focused on end-users. The ultimate goal is creating a win-win situation for both citizens and the network provider.
Once this pilot is up and running, it will hopefully stand as an example for other communities. It is important to remember that the pilot’s success could take many shapes – from encouraging the homeowners of Eemnes to install solar panels to scaling up across the Netherlands. Whatever form it takes, the key message remains the same: local energy communities are sustainable and, perhaps surprisingly to some members of the general public, more cost-efficient for the whole society in the long run.
Last week I had the opportunity to talk extensively with Maarja Meitern, from Bax&Company, concerning the upcoming Eemnes energy trading pilot project and the European energy transition: read my full interview in their latest BeyondBax edition.