We had a great Follower Community Kick-Off Event! Thanks to all participants for all your input and the great discussions.
24 of our original Follower Communities (FCs) were invited to join our FC-Kick-Off Event, which was created as a side-event next to the ENLIT in Frankfurt.
Five FCs did finally join, two in person and three online as we had announced the event as hybrid event in advance. To our great honor two of the largest energy communities in Europe joined our event, namely: the Spanish Som Energía and the Austrian OURPOWER. In addition, we also welcomed the United States Energy Association (USEA) and the FC and Municipality of Buca, Turkey. Our originally planned and budgeted FC ACEA was present as well and introduced with their presentation the necessity of adapting their energy system for the energy transition which empowers the citizens to create and use their own renewable energy.
Knowing these great FCs have joined our event, the stake to make this event valuable for everyone was a necessary target. After introducing the European legislative frameworks and regulations for Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) and Citizen Energy Communities (CECs) we heard first hand from the Austrian Building and Planning Office in Salzburg what it takes to start an energy community and how Austria presents a best practice case already, however, still with many regulatory improvements to be hoped for. After ACEAs presentation we introduced the eCREW model and showed some insights of enablers and barriers but also the fact, that different business models are necessary to fit the different needs in the various countries due to the different national regulations. The split incentive system was introduced as an economic model for creating a win/win/win situation.
Thereafter we had GreenPocket (GP), our partner for designing the virtual platform for each of our Lighthouse Communities (LCs) (Spain, Turkey, Germany). GP presented the details of the virtual platform so every FC could see how a CREW gets started and how it works. This served as a great insight for the FCs. After we presented the entire model, theoretically and on the digital platform, we had our showcase Lighthouse Community Stadtwerke Haßfurt (SWH) presenting their eCREW-rollout experiences. Fortunately, we already had some good data to show in Germany. Thus, the interest in SWH was quite good. In the discussions afterwards the other FCs were very interested and had quite some questions for the German LCs.
A main question was the engagement strategies between energy utilities and customers. Also, how the CREW works in practice so that consumers and prosumers join and have the feeling of a community. Here the awareness programs performed by the German LC helped to explain the community interaction and thus engagement with customers but also between CREW members. We used the entire coffee break to discuss the very practical topic and the values of the eCREW model. It was during the break that we identified that our FCs are eager to not only address the economic win/win situation but even more so the empowerment of the local energy consumers. The sustainability value in the social and environmental sense seemed much higher than anticipated. But it was then, when we started to take the community perspective and the empowerment of citizen that FCs showed most interest in the eCREW model.
A final presentation was regarded to our collection of customers’ and energy utilities’ interests, needs, opinions. Results of which we include in the CEO-Handbook which is designed as a utility or municipality guideline for establishing CREWs. We will include hard facts from all our three LCs including the business model to aim for, and soft facts from the customer and utility survey.
A follow-up meeting for our FCs will be scheduled for the mid of March when we will show and discuss the collected data of the past three month from our LCs. Stay tuned!
Download the attached presentations from ACEA and eCREW on business models !
Watch the recording of the event available on our YouTube channel!