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Want to create a renewable energy community? There is a website that helps you

17 July 2023
Renewable energy communities are a model that is gaining popularity in Europe, where more and more municipalities, business parks, industrial clusters, and even communities of residents, choose to produce and manage their own energy, sharing costs and benefits. Interested in creating one? The good news is that you don't have to do intensive research anymore — it's all on one online platform.

It's called Energy Community Platform and it brings together resources and tools – most of which are free to use – to support community energy projects in their different stages of development.

INEGI's team was part of the consortium that created it, having been responsible for analyzing the legal, political, social and economic factors associated with its implementation in Portugal. The institute's team also created, in collaboration with other COME RES members, one of the various tools available: the Sustainability Test, which assesses the sustainability and environmental, social and economic benefits of each community.

The platform also features a map of energy communities across Europe to facilitate collaboration between communities across borders, and a network of experts for energy communities that need additional professional support.

Isabel Azevedo, responsible for the project at INEGI, explains that the objective is to "reduce the time and effort needed to promote renewable and community energy installation projects, and enhance the transfer of good practices".

Renewable energy communities (or CERs, as they are also known) are initiatives that, from the perspective of the European Union, it is important to encourage, as they are a response to the urgent need for decarbonisation of economies combined with the active participation of citizens. "In Portugal, however, the existence of renewable energy communities is still residual despite being an activity provided for by law since 2020", stresses Isabel Azevedo.

And it was precisely to encourage its growth that INEGI joined the European project COME RES (Community Energy for the Uptake of RES in the Electricity Sector), which partly financed this platform, and is co-financed under the European program Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation programme.

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