Implementing legislation on local energy communities will not suffice

28 October 2021 - Published by Dominique Dhondt
EMPOWER 2.0. presented among the different energy initiatives of Leiedal

The fifth Energy Friday took place in Flanders On Friday 15 October, an organisation of the Climate Network together with Minaraad. At the beginning of March 2021, Minaraad published a study and advice on the coordination of renewable energy within the specific spatial context of Flanders. The focus was on both the technically and socially desirable potential of renewable energy and the governance to put this into practice. The book " Gebiedsgerichte afstemming van hernieuwbare energie " presents this advice, in Dutch, in a convenient and accessible way for local authorities and other stakeholders.

Empower 2.0 partner Leiedal was also present at the book presentation. Dominiek Vandewiele spoke about a regional spatial energy strategy for southern West-Flanders. Heat is the big challenge, especially in a varied area with urban, rural and intermediate zones. What is interesting is the focus on smaller-scale local heat networks with low-temperature heat sources; borehole energy storage fields, cooling plants, sewage heat.

He also discussed climate adaptation in the context of the zero-region project, which led to a regional climate manifesto and, among other things, a strategy to break up stone surfaces.

EMPOWER 2.0 was presented in the focus on energy communities in southern West-Flanders. The old Transfo power station in Zwevegem will be given a circular smart grid at site level under the European sister project RE/SOURCED. The LECSEA project wants to heat the large central public buildings in Wevelgem via an energy community around a borehole energy storage field, as a pilot for shared heat on business parks. 

And finally, EMPOWER 2.0 takes care of the empowerment of citizens in energy communities. Implementing legislation on local energy communities will not suffice to bring the solution, especially in such a complex technical matter as energy. A supporting framework is needed as a coalition of the different stakeholders and the local authorities to support the citizens. Especially in periods of rising energy prices. Solar panels, for example, can protect citizens from energy poverty. 

The webinar, in Dutch, can be found at