New official EMPOWER2.0 VIDEO: Enabling More People’s OWnership in Energy tRansition

18 June 2021 - Published by Dominique Dhondt
Over the next decades, citizens and communities of citizens will have an increasingly crucial role to play in the production of renewable energy. The Interreg project Empower is about involving them in the local energy transition. “By learning about the obstacles that hamper citizens, the EMPOWER project proposes innovative ways to facilitate them in their journey towards becoming active energy citizens, really empowering them in the process”, according to project coordinator Keijen Van Eijk. A new official video explains what the Interreg project EMPOWER2.0 is aiming for and how it tries to achieve its objectives.

Seven diverse pilot projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and the UK are experimenting in living labs with how to scale up local climate action by empowering citizens. “By exchanging knowledge, sharing best practices, collaborating internationally and inspiring each other, we’re trying to improve our impact”, says Van Eijk. “Eventually, we will also try to incorporate these lessons in a digital toolkit that can help citizens and local communities on the way.”

As a teaser, the video shows some of the pilot projects’ progress, while also giving the big picture of the overall objectives. The pilot projects in the Netherlands and the UK are all focusing on connecting local energy producers to local energy consumers, households and businesses, by installing collective solar roofs where one can buy and sell one’s own sustainable energy in a local energy community. These pilots are aimed at scaling up and accelerating the realisation of collective solar roofs and developing new business models for community-led energy projects.

In the village of Føns at the very heart of Denmark, about 40 households are working together with public authorities on Denmark’s smallest citizen-owned district heating system. By adding heat pumps to the grid, citizens are able to use heat in a more efficient, flexible and sustainable way.

Transfo is a former coal-fired power plant in Belgium that was operational until 2001.
Now, the entire site is being transformed with a new destination as heritage, with a strong focus on energy education boasting a battery demo installation, energy storage, solar and wind power and an educational tool to create a perfect living lab for students and visitors alike.

In South West Flanders, a team of Renovation Coaches supports households to renovate their dwellings collectively and become more energy efficient.

The overall objectives of the EMPOWER project are to reduce carbon emissions by 28 tonnes in 3 years and to upscale the use of renewable energy by 1 % in the North Sea Region. Accordingly, 14,000 households will be empowered while other regions will be encouraged to participate in the energy transition.