Conclusions: The Role of Consumer (Co-)Ownership in the Energy Transition
Consumer ownership of renewable energy (RE) is essential to the overall success of the energy transition. Politicians across the planet are discovering its power to make energy infrastructure projects publicly acceptable. Countless grassroots initiatives rising across the board—some at the municipal level, some led by individuals and yet others by organised local citizens—testify to the rising awareness of the necessity of shifting away from fossil to renewable energy sources (RES) to arrest global warming. However, drivers and political motivations underlying the Energy Transition often are heterogeneous including conflicting elements resulting in discrepancies between the declared goals regarding the deployment of RE and the actually implemented energy policies. We observe that while declared aims—including, for example, prosumership—are easy to identify the chances for realisation need to be carefully evaluated against the background of the current challenges and the driving forces behind policy making which show a strong path dependency. At the same time energy/fuel poverty remains a problem in the majority of countries under consideration while the absence of a common definition stresses that the problem is not sufficiently acknowledged. Although the Renewable Energy Directive II paves the way to a coherent EU-wide legal framework, it still needs to be complemented by the Internal Electricity Market regulation and Directive, transposed into national law and subsequently filled with implementing provisions. Finally, the successful adoption of the Clean Energy Package should be a welcome occasion to set new priorities in energy research.
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