UP-STAIRS is a pan-European project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund, that is aiming to accelerate the creation of energy communities by developing a practical innovative framework of tools, business models and concepts to support the development of these communities. Energy communities are groups of people that engage in collective action to support energy efficiency or renewable actions in their communities.
To make the electricity market fit for the future, the Clean Energy Package (CEP) strikes a balance between decisions made at EU, national and local levels. While Member States can choose their own energy mix, it must meet commitments to improve energy efficiency and the take-up of renewables by 2030. The CEP contains two definitions of energy community: Citizen Energy Community and Renewable Energy Community. The EU-funded UP-STAIRS project, led and coordinated by IERC, will provide a common framework for the growth of these energy communities. It aims to facilitate citizen participation in the transition from a consumer market to a ‘prosumer market’, while enabling local authorities to work closely with citizens on this journey through a one-stop shop. The project’s common framework includes business models, relevant policy and regulatory advice, and support for assessing a community’s energy potential.