Community renovation projects are key to supporting the green transition

(EurActiv, 11 Nov 2021) Both tenants and homeowners need to be involved in renovation programmes to bring Europe’s ageing building stock in line with its climate goals. Energy cooperatives could be one way to encourage citizens’ support, writes Ciarán Cuffe.

Ciarán Cuffe is an Irish member of the European Parliament for the Greens and will be working on revising the energy performance of buildings directive next year.

During my time as an MEP, I’ve often heard (and used) the phrase “Citizens need to be
at the heart of the energy transition”. This might be easily confused for eurojargon, understood only by a select few that work in the Brussels energy bubble or the policy mandarins of Twitter.

However, what we mean by this phrase is that the future belongs to the people. In terms of energy – i.e. where people get the electricity to light and heat their homes – I have seen incredible examples of what can be achieved when groups of people band together to invest in their future.

Last year, I supported a European Commission pilot project that aimed at promoting citizen-led renovation projects. This encourages the renovation of buildings and homes by energy
cooperatives for and with their communities.

Energy cooperatives are groups of citizens that come together to promote sustainable and renewable energy within their community through active citizenship involvement. The benefits of this model are clear from the outset; citizens have their say directly throughout the governance of the cooperative.

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EurActiv, 11 Nov 2021: Community renovation projects are key to supporting the green transition