EC²: Energy Citizenship and Energy Communities for a Clean-Energy Transition

Funding: European Commission (H2020)

The EU’s ambitious decarbonisation targets cannot be met by technology alone.

What are the social, economic and legal conditions that will enable a shift in our energy model: from a centralised energy regime to a decentralised one, from a society of passive energy consumers to one of empowered, engaged energy citizens?

Gathering insights from the fields of law, economics and psychology, EC² will provide answers on how to facilitate and strengthen energy citizenship. Knowledge co-creation with municipalities, energy communities and citizens will enhance the research to deliver recommendations that support the EU’s energy and decarbonisation goals.

The project will develop a clear conceptualisation of energy citizenship, and gather actionable insights into the optimal conditions for it to flourish. It places a special focus on the role of energy communities and how their set-up can help - or hinder - the creation of energy citizens.

The insights gained will lead to policies, tools and practices that will support the sustainable, just, inclusive transition to a low-carbon society with citizens at the centre.



Involved Institutions

Center for Social Innovation ZSI (Austria)

Universität Graz (Austria)

Universität Leipzig (Germany)

Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny we Wrocławiu (Poland)

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Netherlands)

Groningen Municipality (Netherlands)

Comune di Scalenghe (Italy)

Gmina Prusice (Poland)

Buurkracht Projecten B.V. (Netherlands)

Ture Nirvane Societa’ Cooperativa Sociale di Comunita’ (Italy)

Arterra Bizimodu (Spain)

Housing Cooperative Wrocław South (HCWS, Poland)

Global Ecovillage Network of Europe (Germany)

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (Germany)


The Emergence of Energy Citizenship in the EU (EuCML 2023, 49)

Maria Bertel (University of Graz), Iris Eisenberger (University of Vienna) and Brigitta Lurger (University of Graz) introduce Energy Citizenship as an emerging concept in law.

In the paper, they argue that energy citizenship as a legal concept can be inferred from EU law. They state that – although not explicitly mentioned in EU primary law – EU law allows for the inference of energy citizenship. At the centre of a legal notion of energy citizenship stands the relationship of the individual and the collective (or individual interests versus
the interests of the society) in the energy transition.


Interdisciplinary understanding of energy citizenship (Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 97, March 2023, 102959)

This paper, authored as part of Work Package 2, develops a viable concept of energy citizenship, upon which scientific, political and practical debates on energy citizenship and energy communities can be built. It introduces an interdisciplinary definition of energy citizenship that is parsimonious, unambiguous, and translatable into scientific definitions.

Authors: Hamann, K.R.S., Bertel, M.P., Ryszawska, B., Lurger, B., Szymanski, P., Rozwadowska, M., Goedkoop, F.

Co-authors: Jans, L., Perlaviciute, G., Masson, T., Hofer, A., Held, J., Gutschi, C.,
Grosche, C., Fritsche, I., Favaro, T., Eisenberger, I., Corcoran, K.,
Athenstaedt, U.