Extra outputs of EMPOWER2.0 due to project extension

12 October 2022 - Published by Dominique Dhondt

The Belgian beneficiary Intercommunale Leiedal proposed a set of activities in order to upscale the number of citizens reached and increase the empowerment in the energy transition. Leiedal
identified the additional time and funding as an opportunity to create more impact (more empowerment) and induce new types of empowerment that will continue the impact made. Their additional activities consisted of:

  • Roll-out of a Regional Climate Fund with calls to citizens & organisations for small scale -but empowered- climate projects
  • Development of the concept and plan for an energy community to tackle the energy poverty in disturbed energy markets.
  • Regional Climate Festival for citizens
  • Scaling up the collective renovations in apartment buildings


The British beneficiary Essex County Council aimed to replicate their pilot’s success in another community, working together with a primary school to install solar PV and a heat pump. Local engagement and events raised awareness of these systems and invited the local community to organise themselves to identify other energy initiatives for them to take forward. Training and coaching provided the skills for interested citizens to acquire the capacity and skills in order to lead on local energy projects.

Essex also used the additional funding to enhance the current renewable energy educational offer to schools, adding renewable energy kits to the (already developed) Empower/Solar Energy teaching resource pack and creating an extra teaching resource pack on the topic of heat pumps. Renewable energy kits were also distributed in 5 libraries in across Essex so other schools would be able to borrow them to use.

Additionally, a new collective purchasing scheme for solar panels was launched in February 2022. The project extension allowed Essex to increase the number of households reached by its pilot and equivalent carbon emissions reductions from domestic installations (estimated over 400 new installs by September 2022).

Furthermore, the extension allowed Essex to progress its “local balancing” trial in Danbury – Energy Local Club. Preliminary feasibility was completed in 2021, but further analysis is required as additional renewable energy was installed in the pilot site.


The Danish beneficiary Middelfart Kommune wished to expand its current pilot (which won the 2022 award for best climate project by the Danish national assembly of municipalities) and turn it into a European Smart Village. The additional time and funding was used to develop a highly innovative, completely flexible district heating system (sourcing heat from biomass, electricity and storage), owned by citizens of a local energy community (50 households). Additional spending was required for performing shallow geothermal drillings (approx. 100 meters deep), the installation of solar PV for electricity production and the purchase of monitoring technology for intelligent energy usage.

A very large amount of data on the households' energy profiles was already collected in EMPOWER2.0. This data allowed the project to use and test algorithms on thermal storage capacity in the actual buildings, as well as in the district heating systems buffer-tanks and seasonal energy storage in shallow geothermal drillings. This expansion of activities therefore unlocked the full potential of the data and results obtained earlier in the project.

A number of citizens were willing to participate with their houses as testbed offering flexibility in the sense of individual thermal capacity (houses as thermal batteries). This was a unique possibility to introduce buildings with Smart Readiness Indicators.


The Dutch beneficiaries Coöperatie Kennemer Kracht and Stichting Stadsgarage, led by local coordinator Gemeente Haarlem, also aimed to continue and deepen their pilot activities. These  contributed to reinforcing deliverables 3.2 and 4.3, the pilot's physical infrastructure and management structure, respectively. In short, their additional activities consisted of:

  • Three co-creation sessions with 8 local energy coops with the aim of establishing abusiness case for (solar PV) energy coops
  • A survey of 9 local coop managers to identify threats and opportunities to the business case and their interest in cooperation and coordination.
  • A roadmap for cooperation of three ambitious cooperatives to develop new collective solar PV installations on roofs in the municipality of HaarlemLessons Learned: an advise how to deal with the threats and opportunities for growth of collective solar PV in Haarlem and it’s surroundings.