A Software to Help New Local Energy Communities EmergeGREEN'S EDOARDO CROCI AND ANNAMARIA BAGAINI COLLABORATE ON A PROJECT THAT WILL HELP BRING EUROPE CLOSER TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THROUGH SMALL SCALE EFFORTS
A consortium including, among others, the GREEN research center, specifically Edoardo Croci (in the role of scientific coordinator) and Annamaria Bagaini, has been funded under the European Union's Horizon program with 6 million euros over a 42-month period for a project to develop a platform to support the creation and development of energy communities on a local scale.
An energy community is a way of organizing collective action on an open participation basis to provide benefits to its members and/or the local community. Thousands of them already exist in Europe, organized in various forms, and the Union's goal is to have at least 50 percent of renewable energy produced through these communities by 2050. This scheme is therefore credited with great effectiveness in increasing European energy independence from fossil fuels and imports.
What makes setting up and enlarging energy communities rather complex is the fact that they have to bring together different stakeholders. Citizens, local authorities, energy producers and distributors, and local businesses must be able to put their legitimate expectations and needs together within the constraints of economic and environmental sustainability, and this requires overcoming technical, economic, political, and legal problems. This project, called MASTERPIECE (Multidisciplinary Approaches and Software Technologies for Engagement, Recruitment and Participation in Innovative Energy Communities in Europe), aims precisely at developing and distributing a software application that makes this aggregation easier and that can work in any context.
In particular, Annamaria Bagaini says, “in the early stages, Bocconi will be tasked with studying the existing framework in terms of barriers to entry, incentives and regulations currently operating in the various countries. Later on, it will be necessary to help the participants in the pilot cases (one of which is in Italy) to develop solid business models. Finally,” Bagaini concludes, “at the end of the project we will have to produce an actual handbook for policymakers with useful recommendations on how to properly use the tool.”
by Andrea Costa