In October 2023, seven European-funded projects, collectively working towards advancing Europe’s energy transition, came together for a two-day knowledge exchange in Brussels. The event included impactful discussions, high-level panels, a poster session, and a field visit to a local energy community. 

The forum opened with a keynote by Nives Della Valle, stressing collective action for a clean energy transition. The projects newTRENDS, NUDGE, and MICAT shared insights on societal trends, nudging methods, and a multiple impacts calculation tool. The focus was on shaping future energy policy by emphasizing fair comparisons and overcoming barriers to energy-saving decisions. 

On day 2, Tadhg O’Briain highlighted the vital role of energy community projects. BECoop, W4RES, and UP-STAIRS presented efforts to address gender equality, community bioenergy potential, and community uplift. Real-world examples underscored the projects’ positive impact, culminating in a visit to the SunSud energy community in Brussels. 

The Overall Perspective: A Call for Inclusive Policies 

The collaborative approach demonstrated progress toward a sustainable future, emphasizing the need for supportive policies empowering citizens and communities. Post-event resources, including posters, slide decks, recordings, and a teaser/recap, aim to disseminate knowledge gained during the forum. 

BECoop’s role in facilitating the uptake of sustainable Bioenergy Communities 

BECoop, coordinated by White, showcased its contributions during “Re-Energising Europe,” focusing on mobilizing stakeholders around community bioenergy and creating a better image for bioenergy communities. The project’s legacy includes tangible materials for replication and further use after BECoop’s conclusion, such as the BECoop Replication Handbook – a step-by-step guide facilitating the development efforts of community bioenergy heating projects. BECoop actively transferred its concept, tools, and services to eight follower cases across Europe, demonstrating its replicability and widespread impact. The project’s activities have raised awareness around energy communities, the benefits of bioenergy, increased social cohesion, and bioenergy technology-related job opportunities. 

More than 12 diverse cases from Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium, and Romania have been inspired and supported by the project partners, demonstrating BECoop’s replicability across European contexts. 

W4RES Final Event: Shaping Inclusive Energy Transition 

As part of “Re-Energising Europe,” W4RES concluded activities on October 25 in Brussels. The policy panel featured Elsebeth Terkelsen (European Green Cities – EGC), sharing policy recommendations and EGC’s gender action plan. Charlotte Schlicke (Steinbeis Europa Zentrum) discussed market uptake support, and Carina Holzapfel, CEO of H2mc-Heating, shared how W4RES supported her initiative’s journey. 

The networking lunch facilitated discussions, poster readings, and W4SHE awareness campaign presentations by Miriam Angelis and Flaminia Rocca (APRE). Marilys Louvet (WECF) highlighted gender barriers. 

The last session summarized W4RES approaches, focusing on replication in the renewable heating and cooling sector and energy communities. Marilys Louvet and Katharina Habersbrunner (WECF) led a co-creation workshop with concrete gender tools and information.