All good things must come to an end...

Often is local resistance a main barrier to the development of renewable energy infrastructure. In order to overcome this, COBEN has successfully showcased various ways in which local communities and their residence can directly benefit from renewable energy projects.

By redirecting the value chain away from big centralised energy systems, toward the citizens, farmers, local companies, and the municipality themselves, COBEN contributed toward the EU objective of creating a level playing field between community-led energy and the centralised players. Although fully achieving this goal still remains a vision for the future – even after six years of COBEN’s efforts – the development of transferrable civic energy blueprints through the ’Civic Energy Cycle’ has highlighted that local communities can be key drivers for the transition towards a more sustainable and just future.

Over the past 6 years, COBEN has been the meeting point for civic energy of every shape and colour: from energy renovation and shared e-mobility initiatives in Ringkøbing-Skjern (DK), the development of district heating networks in Osnabrück (DE), new spatial plans including community-owned wind turbines in the Province of East Flanders (BE), the support of cooperative solar fields and the creation of pioneering social tendering processes in Emmen (NL), to fossil-free farming innovation in Viken (NO) – COBEN has shown that civic energy can be as unique as the communities throughout the North Sea Region themselves. However, no matter the form, at its heart, civic energy is always about delivering added community benefits to the citizens involved.

Now, COBEN has come to an end, but the recent times have proven again the importance of accelerating the renewable energy transition by advancing the role of community-led energy, which is not reliant on centralised providers and larger geopolitical turmoil. There is still a lot to do for the COBEN partnership in the future…

For now, the COBEN family says thank you and ends the Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme chapter with a feeling of pride and enthusiasm to continue the success in one way or the other.

And a big thank you to the Join Secretariat, particularly Jesper and Marie, whose valuable support along the way has made COBEN the success it has been.

Now off to the next chapter…

 

 

 

Photo by Alex Liivet