EMPOWER 2.0 is the abbreviation of Empowering the citizens - Towards European Energy Market 2.0 (Enabling More People’s OWnership in Energy tRansition).


Today the role of citizens in the energy system is limited to be “energy-consumers”, at most “energy prosumers” or investors.

This role will change in the future. The EC introduced a new vision in its winter package 2016. In MEMO/16/3961 the EC states:

“All consumers across the EU will be entitled to generate electricity for either their own consumption, store it, share it, consume it or to sell it back to the market. These changes should make it easier for households and businesses to become more involved in the energy system, to better control their energy consumption and respond to price signals.”

The updated European Renewables Energy Directive (ERED-14-06-2018) reinforces the importance of this empowering approach. 

To succeed, another level of organisation is required to empower the groups of citizens and businesses in their new role. Currently, citizens and businesses encounter significant challenges in the field of governance, technical, legal, financial… to play an active role in the energy market.

Pilot projects through the North Sea Region or NSR will be run that use opportunities to organise direct access to the energy market. They will engage and connect existing civil society structures, such as schools, sports clubs, neighbourhoods, business parks or local energy cooperatives. 14 000 households in the directly involved municipalities and regions of the partners will be empowered. This will lead to an increased uptake of renewable energy by 1% of the households in the NSR and a reduction of 14 000 carbon dioxide emissions.


EMPOWER2.0 is an Interreg North Sea Region funded project with 14 partners, led by Gemeente Zaanstad (NL):

  •       Seven cities, provinces, intermunicipal organisations:

Gemeente Zaanstad NL, Provincie West-Vlaanderen BE, Essex County Council UK, Southend on Sea Borough Council UK, Middelfart Kommune DK, Gemeente Haarlem NL, Intercommunale Leiedal BE

  •       Three universities:

Hogeschool van Amsterdam NL, University of Southern Denmark DK, Ghent University BE

  •       One company: 

Graham Oakes Ltd UK

  •       Three cooperatives:

Coöperatieve WeSpark Zaanstreek NL, Stadsgarage NL, Coöperatie Kennemer Kracht NL.