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National Policy Measures and Best Practices for Citizen Engagement in the Energy Transition

By Karin Thalberg and Benjamin Schmid

During the past five years, the European Union has made significant legislative advancements towards the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 with the introduction of the European Climate Law, the European Green Deal, and the ‘Fit for 55’ Climate and Energy Package. As we enter the implementation phase of these policies, understanding and supporting citizen involvement in this process is becoming more and more important. Especially considering the far-reaching societal transformation that the climate and energy transition implies. To this end, EnergyPROSPECTS has examined how energy citizenship is taking shape across the continent today and under which conditions it could be further supported to contribute to the fulfilment of national and European decarbonisation objectives.

Energy citizenship provides a holistic approach for policymakers to consider citizens’ multifaceted roles in the energy transition. The concept encompasses various forms of civic involvement and engagement that can be practised at different levels of action, through different constellations of actors, in the fields of energy production, energy consumption, and in the governance of the energy and climate transition. This policy brief targets national policymakers with policy measures and best practices they could implement to advance energy citizenship in their country.

First, we introduce our approach to energy citizenship, with concrete examples of where and how it can be practised. Second, we highlight the potential of energy citizenship initiatives as enablers for citizen action in the energy transition. Going beyond energy communities, energy citizenship initiatives comprise a variety of organisational forms, driven by a diversity of actors that support and enable citizens to practise different forms of energy citizenship. Thereafter, concrete recommendations and best practices are outlined.