The European Commission’s latest energy summer package recognises co-operatives as are a means to increase consumer participation in the energy market. On 15 July the Commission presented proposals to deliver a new deal for energy consumers.
Cooperatives Europe and REScoop.eu welcome the proposals on self-consumption and consumers. The two organisations argue that consumers, including citizens, their co-operatives and other small and medium enterprises need to play a more important role in delivering a fully functioning energy market to meet the 2030 EU climate and energy targets.
Dirk Vansintjan, president of Rescoop.eu, the European Federation of renewable energy cooperatives says: “In this guidance document on self-consumption of renewable energy we read some good things. At the same time self-consumption is not just about putting some PV panels on the roof of a citizen. It is above all about what citizens all across Europe do together in a growing number of community energy initiatives (REScoops). That aspect still needs to be developed more by the EU Commission.”
In its Summer Package the Commission highlights some of the obstacles faced by consumers, households and businesses that prevent them from benefitting from the on-going energy transition. These challenges include the lack of appropriate information on costs and consumption, insufficient competition on many retail markets and a lack of reward for active participation as well as difficulties in switching.
Following a public consultation in the first half of 2014, the Commission has identified three key points as core to delivering a new deal for consumers: consumer empowerment, smart homes and networks and data management and protection. To give consumers a wide choice of action the documents propose a number of measures, including increasing consumer participation through intermediation and collective schemes, such as co-operative schemes.
Klaus Niederländer, director of Cooperatives Europe, the European regional organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance, added: “In the Consultation on the Electricity Market Design we will suggest to the EU Commission to broaden their view on what citizens and their REScoops can do already and their future growth potential to democratize the energy market, which belongs to all citizens. Among our national members we count more than 1,000 REScoops of which the majority has been supplying their members with electricity for almost or more than a century already. We will demonstrate to the EU Commission that the cooperative entrepreneurial approach is most suited for citizens and SME’s in the energy sector.”
Photo: Klaus Niederländer, director of Cooperatives Europe