LIFE is the EU’s funding programme dedicated to the environment and climate action.
Read more about LIFE.
This topic aims to support actions that foster the collaboration between local and regional authorities and energy communities and/or actions that develop integrated services to facilitate the emergence and growth of community energy projects.
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 other priorities such as improving the energy efficiency of housing or reducing energy poverty. The participation of citizens in renewable energy projects may also facilitate social acceptance at the local level. The role of energy communities in the EU energy systems is expected as well to grow in line with the REPowerEU plan to phase out EU dependence on fossil fuels imports.
An increasing number of local authorities wish to make sure that more citizens and local communities benefit from the energy transition and play an active role in it. In fact, local government is uniquely well-placed to support, partner and invest, and to provide a positive planning and policy environment to help drive community energy.
Designing adequate public interventions at the local level is key but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to trigger the creation of energy communities locally. The level of public participation and the type of actions required vary significantly depending on the specific context of each city and town. Building on initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors, there is also a need to strengthen the technical and financial capacities of local actors to support citizen-led initiatives in the field of energy (particularly in Member States with low levels of community energy activity).
Taking sustainable energy projects off the ground can be complex due to the regulatory and policy context (e.g. changing national support schemes for renewables, burdensome licensing, heavy administrative procedures, difficulties in coordinating project implementation in atomised markets, 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, difficulties in managing the public participation and engagement, and establishing effective governance and decision-making structures. These hurdles prevent energy communities around Europe from developing their potential. An effective way of tacking this complexity, is supplying integrated services to help energy communities develop sustainable energy projects.
Proposals are expected to address one of the two scopes below. The scope addressed should be clearly specified in the proposal's introduction.
Scope A - Local authorities collaborating with citizen-led-initiatives
Under this scope, proposals should foster the collaboration between local and regional authorities (including energy agencies) and energy communities.
Scope B - Developing integrated services to support community energy
Under this scope, proposals should support actions that improve market conditions and develop integrated services aimed at reducing complexity, simplifying decision making and stimulating the creation of community energy projects. These services may be implemented by public or private actors in close coordination with local and/or regional authorities in targeted territories.
Proposals should result in the emergence and growth of energy communities in different areas related to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
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.:
+ the coordinator must be established in an eligible country
The indicative budget for this topic is 6,500,000 EUR.
Maximum 95% funding rate.