LIFE - Developing support mechanisms for Energy Communities

Deadline :
September 19, 2024 5:00 PM

Brussels time

Project Duration:
Funding available:
EUR 7 000 000
Partners required:
At least 3 applicants from 3 different eligible countries.‍

Funding programme

LIFE is the EU’s funding programme dedicated to the environment and climate action.

Call overview

This call aims to foster the collaboration between local/regional authorities and energy communities.


Energy communities can help citizens and local authorities invest in renewables and energy efficiency. Community-owned projects can allow citizens to finance sustainable energy investments that deliver local economic benefits, social cohesion, and/or address other priorities such as improving the energy efficiency of housing or reducing energy poverty. The role of energy communities in the EU energy systems is expected to grow in line with the REPowerEU plan[1]. As part of that, for instance, the EU Solar Strategy defined the target of setting up at least 1 renewables-based Energy Community in every municipality with more than 10,000 inhabitants by 2025.

Developing and realising projects can be complex for energy communities due to the regulatory and policy context (e.g. changing national support schemes for renewables, burdensome licensing, heavy administrative procedures, etc.). For relatively small and citizen-led actors like energy communities, there are some additional practical challenges such as lack of information, limited access to finance, difficulties in aggregating small interventions or difficulties in engaging citizens and establishing effective governance and decision-making structures. These hurdles prevent energy communities around Europe from developing their potential.

An increasing number of local and regional authorities wish to make sure that more citizens and local communities benefit from the energy transition and play an active role in it. Supporting energy communities can be a way to achieve that and local governments are uniquely well-placed to support their development by creating an enabling framework for communities and addressing their development hurdles. Strategies to do so vary depending on the specific context of each territory. For instance, some public authorities may choose to directly (help) set-up and/or invest in an energy community, while others, may decide to open One-Stop-Shops (OSS) to support community energy projects, or procure public services and products from energy communities.

This topic aims to foster the collaboration between local/regional authorities and energy communities.


Proposals should focus on one of the two actions below:

  • A. Set up energy communities led by or supported by relevant public authorities aimed at supporting the achievement of local and regional energy policy objectives and actively and democratically engage citizens in investments and decision-making.
  • B. Develop support services for energy communities (e.g. One-Stop-Shops or other facilitation structures) supplying technical support to energy community projects by reducing the complexity of the process, simplifying decision making and stimulating the execution of projects. As a result of their work, these services should lead to local energy community investment pipelines. The design of the services is to be justified in each proposal taking into account the local context and existing support mechanisms.

In order to deliver on the actions above, proposals are encouraged to consider including some of the elements below (among other possible actions):

  • Provision of technical support to enable actors to set-up an energy community (e.g. licencing, energy commercialisation, business models, legal aspects).
  • Training and capacity building on energy community development for local and regional authority officials, local communities and other relevant local actors.
  • Creation of a supportive local policy framework for the development of energy community projects (e.g. through community participation or investment quotas or public procurement).
  • Support of active engagement and democratic governance by citizens in energy communities.
  • Facilitation of energy communities’ access to financial resources (e.g. through guarantees, seed funding for revolving funds, technical support for the early stages of project development, aggregation of small projects).
  • Development of services to support the operational phase of existing energy communities and/or enabling communities to pool resources for project development and operation (e.g. by creating umbrella communities/coalitions).
  • Development of specific support measures (or streamline access to existing ones) for specific target groups such as energy vulnerable and energy poor households.

Proposals submitted under this topic should aim at fostering communities fitting the definition of “renewable energy community” according to the revised Renewable Energy Directive ((EU) 2018/2001)[2] and/or the definition of “citizen energy community” according to the Directive on common rules for the internal electricity market ((EU) 2019/944)[3]. They should adequately take into account participation and governance differences between both concepts.

Project applicants may choose to focus on one or more activities related to sustainable energy (production, transmission, distribution, energy efficiency, demand-response, etc.).

Priority will be given to proposals that develop areas in which community energy is less developed (in their specific context) including building renovation, heating and cooling or renewable gas market.

Proposals should demonstrate the support of the stakeholders which are necessary to ensure the success of the action (in particular, local or regional authorities).

Pilots can be energy communities (A) or support services for communities (B). Proposals should justify the potential for synergies between the selected pilots.

Expected Impact

Proposals submitted under this topic should present the concrete results which will be achieved by the planned activities. This demonstration should include a detailed analysis of the baseline, well-substantiated assumptions and establish clear causality links between the expected impacts and the workplan.

Applicants are asked to quantify the topic specific impacts (where relevant), the LIFE CET common indicators and any other project-specific performance indicators which they consider relevant for their action.

The impacts of the proposals should be demonstrated during the project and within 5 years after the project lifetime. It should be noted that the figures reported will be assessed considering the context in which they are generated and the relative difficulty of launching energy community projects there.

The indicators for this topic include:

  • Number of energy community projects supported.
  • Number of energy communities created.
  • Number of operational support services for energy communities which have been tested, established and incorporated feedback from users.
  • Number of citizens taking part in energy communities as a result of the project.
  • Number of actors with increased skills in the area of community energy (local and regional authority officials or other relevant actors).
  • Number of local and regional authorities committed to replicate best practice experiences.

Proposals should also quantify their impacts related to the following common indicators for the LIFE CET subprogramme:

  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project in GWh/year.
  • Final energy savings triggered by the project in GWh/year.
  • Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year).
  • Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year).
  • Investments in sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewable energy) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).

Beyond the impacts above, proposals are expected to deliver (where relevant):

  • A robust strategy to continue providing the support services after the project ends.
  • A solid set of local enabling actions to create an environment where new energy communities emerge.
  • A piloted approach to create inclusive energy communities (e.g. including energy poor and vulnerable households, but also looking at other historically excluded categories).
  • Adequate financing mechanisms to support energy community projects at the local /regional level.


In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

− be legal entities (public or private bodies)

− be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

  • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
  • non-EU countries: listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme
  • (list of participating countries)

- the coordinator must be established in an eligible country.

Consortium composition

For both actions, proposals must be submitted by at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries.


The total indicative budget is EUR 7 000 000.

For both actions, the Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.75 million would allow the specific objectives to be addressed appropriately.

Apply now

Deadline :
September 19, 2024 5:00 PM

Brussels time

Project Duration:
Funding available:
EUR 7 000 000
Partners required:
At least 3 applicants from 3 different eligible countries.‍