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Enhancing Energy Citizenship through Business and Social Innovation Models

By Karin Thalberg and Ariane Debourdeau

EnergyPROSPECTS is a Horizon 2020 project that examines the potential of energy citizenship to contribute the European energy transition. Energy citizenship is understood as forms of citizen involvement and engagement in the energy system that pertain to the development of a more sustainable and democratic energy system. It can be practised at different levels of action, through different constellations of actors, in the fields of energy production, distribution, and energy consumption, and in the governance of the energy/climate transition.

This policy brief specifically concentrates on business and social innovation models (BSIMs) as instrumental tools to promote the development of energy citizenship across different scales. The brief showcases eight initiatives with innovative BSIMs led by public authorities, non-governmental organizations, and local communities, that support citizen involvement in the energy transition in different ways. The featured good practice initiatives have been chosen based on their endurance over time and the way they integrate environmental and social values that enhance energy citizenship into their BSIMs. These values include citizen participation and control, democratic governance, and social inclusion and justice, all embedded into the core of their functioning.

The aim of the policy brief is twofold. First, to provide inspiring examples that could be reproduced elsewhere and outline concrete strategies for how energy transition initiatives and intermediary actors could further strengthen energy citizenship in their activities and functioning. Second, to offer concrete policy recommendations on how policy makers at different levels can create an enabling environment for energy citizenship to thrive.