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Citizen Energy: Structural economic development and participation (BE:ST)

A structural strengthening through the energy transition ”can only succeed together with the people for whom the regions are part of their identity and home with tradition and future”. This call by the Coal Commission to actively involve people in structural development focuses on a central social innovation of the energy transition: community energy. The aim of the BE:ST project is to formulate the basic conditions required for an effective and ambitious citizen energy transition - conceptually and procedurally. In this way, the project wants to contribute to developing community energy as a component of a swift, socially sustainable structural strengthening that is as conflict-free as possible.

The project team is investigating which economic, social and political-cultural potentials are available in the Rhenish mining area and in the Lusatian coal mining area. Quantitative-empirical analyzes as well as civic activation with the format of the so-called citizens' council are planned in the regions under investigation. The different economic and social prerequisites and design features for a structural strengthening are discussed in a randomly selected group of actors under professional moderation.

The project is developing various products, tools and handouts, such as exemplary participatory strategy recommendations and procedures for the self-efficacy of community energy. In addition, an open access database is being set up with a Citizen Science interface as a communication platform, which is used to make the project results available to a wide circle of interested parties and also to pool knowledge and exchange information on aspects of citizen energy beyond the project period. In the project, the IÖW primarily analyzes the economic potential of community energy. For example, we look into the question of what capital is available for community energy projects and work out the necessary framework conditions for the implementation of such projects. In cooperation with our partners, we link our findings with analyzes of social and political-cultural potential.