Energy Commons

We facilitate the energy transition through energy commons – an application of socio-ecological systems for integrated community energy systems.

Integrated Community Energy Systems (ICES) are an emerging local energy system focusing on the collective use of distributed energy resources (DER).

Neighborhood economy

A household switches from the current energy supplier to the energy collective of the neighborhood; the common. This creates a neighborhood economy. It is mutually agreed upon how the sustainably generated energy from the common will be distributed and surplus stored in a home or neighborhood battery for later use. The neighborhood thus becomes a small, self-sufficient power plant.

What is financially feasible?

The Energy Common only proposes actions if it is financially feasible to a household and can be realized within the current housing costs. Residents are continuously assisted through the entire transition process, step by step. They will pay the amount spent on average – over the last three years per month to their energy supplier – to the Energy Common in the form of an Energy Performance Fee (EPF).

Residents use the energy they generate themselves. If necessary, this will be supplemented with collectively generated neighborhood energy. In case the amount of energy in an Energy Common is insufficient, energy will be purchased on the external market. The reverse is also an option – surplus energy can be sold.

Energy corridors are developed to bring energy from outside in, for example energy generated by a solar park or windmill or a company just outside the neighborhood. Provisions are made to maintain the energy balance in the grid.

For this to happen, residents receive an energy bundle. If they exceed the bundle, they can be called to account and must pay extra. The total energy costs for a household remains the same or decreases.

The Energy Common takes on part of the tasks of the traditional energy supplier. It monitors energy consumption.

New opportunities & challenges

This transition creates an opportunity and a need for local energy commons based on a local group-investment in renewable energy systems. Smart energy management and energy exchange, requiring trading software, will become core competencies of energy commons.

Currently, less than 1% of local energy organizations in North-West Europe are “digitized” and have energy exchange implemented. Local energy organizations are effectively shut out of energy trading & smart grid market due to their limited technical expertise and the lack of commercially available ICESs.

Approach

Our institute will facilitate collaboration of Energy Commons, technology providers and expert organizations to:

  • Jointly pool innovative SMEs developing AI-based software solutions matching energy aggregators’ needs;
  • Testing solutions in the local environments to further technical and organizational readiness level improvement;
  • Share the results of testing, nationally and internationally.