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The key resource for a climate revolution: citizens

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Communities or individual citizens producing, using and selling their own renewable energy could provide up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector by 2050. The European research project PROSEU carried out in cooperation with the IÖW has concluded that, in the coming years, European, national and local governments have a unique chance to support ‘prosumerism’ and thus an effective and socially just energy transition.

On rooftops in cities, fields in rural communities, or islands with irregular consumption patterns, citizens are increasingly organising themselves in energy communities producing, consuming and sometimes even selling their own energy. The PROSEU projectshows how these citizens, so-called ‘prosumers’, can help bring about lasting change in renewable energy in Europe. The conclusions are stark: there is potential for such citizen initiatives to produce up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector. Furthermore, results advocate for expanding the energy produced by citizens across Europe.

In addition to studying the possibilities of prosumerism, IÖW and its PROSEU partners worked with “Living Labs” in nine countries, analysed European and national policies, investigated business models and produced a roadmap for the citizen-driven energy transition. IÖW focused hereby on the technical potentials and implications. This included

  • contributing to a database containing relevant prosumer technologies with current costs and technical key figures as well as an outlook for 2030 and 2050 (link)
  • showing potentials of self-consumption and production on individual and neighbourhood level (link)
  • recommendations regarding the mainstreaming of prosumerism from a technical point of view (link)

Policy recommendations to guide the way

Working with prosumers across Europe, from Croatia to the UK, the PROSEU project put forth concrete recommendations for policy makers at different levels. The recommendations focus on four areas: the economic viability of prosumerism, its timely incorporation into law, the creation of frameworks, and the engagement of citizens in energy governance.


Policy Recommendations:

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The project PROSumers for the Energy Union (PROSEU) was about strengthening the active participation of citizens in the energy transition. The IÖW worked on the European project together with FEUP, ClientEarth, DRIFT, University of Zagreb, Leuphana University, Eco-union, CE Delft, ICLEI and the University of Leeds, with FC.ID leading the work. PROSEU was funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

For more information, visit the PROSEU website here, or watch project videos by clicking here.

Notes and further info: