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Open AccessArticle

Collective Renewable Energy Prosumers and the Promises of the Energy Union: Taking Stock

Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (FEUP), Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (ICS-UL), Av. Professor Aníbal de Bettencourt, 9, 1600-189 Lisboa, Portugal
DRIFT—Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
CIIMAR-Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Terminal de Cruzeiros de Matosinhos, Av. General Norton de Matos s/n, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (CE3C), Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Potsdamer Str. 105, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Banking, Finance and New Venture Management, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Universitätsallee 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(2), 421;
Received: 1 November 2019 / Revised: 27 December 2019 / Accepted: 30 December 2019 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Pathways for Community Energy and Storage)
A key strategy in the European Union’s ambition to establish an ‘Energy Union’ that is not just clean, but also fair, consists of empowering citizens to actively interact with the energy market as self-consumers or prosumers. Although renewable energy sources (RES) prosumerism has been growing for at least a decade, two new EU directives are intended to legitimise and facilitate its expansion. However, little is known about the full range of prosumers against which to measure policy effectiveness. We carried out a documentary study and an online survey in nine EU countries to shed light on the demographics, use of technology, organisation, financing, and motivation as well as perceived hindering and facilitating factors for collective prosumers. We identified several internal and external obstacles to the successful mainstreaming of RES prosumerism, among them a mismatch of policies with the needs of different RES prosumer types, potential organisational weaknesses as well as slow progress in essential reforms such as decentralising energy infrastructures. Our baseline results offer recommendations for the transposition of EU directives into national legislations and suggest avenues for future research in the fields of social, governance, policy, technology, and business models. View Full-Text
Keywords: renewable energy prosumer; energy transition; collective prosumer; energy union; community energy renewable energy prosumer; energy transition; collective prosumer; energy union; community energy
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Horstink, L.; Wittmayer, J.M.; Ng, K.; Luz, G.P.; Marín-González, E.; Gährs, S.; Campos, I.; Holstenkamp, L.; Oxenaar, S.; Brown, D. Collective Renewable Energy Prosumers and the Promises of the Energy Union: Taking Stock. Energies 2020, 13, 421.

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