“I want a knowledge programme for citizens and municipalities to understand each other’s role.”

Interview with Siward Zomer (Energiesamen) & Anatol Itten (Dutch Ministry for Climate)

Siward Zomer & Anatol Itten



Siward Zomer & Anatol Itten


Director of Energiesamen | Senior Policy Officer, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy NL




Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The Netherlands is one of the leading countries when it comes to an energy policy taking into account many different people and sectors. The Dutch National Climate Agreement from 2019 is the best example. So, to achieve its climate and energy goals, the country needs the highest possible involvement and public ownership of green energy, including for heating homes.

Today’s episode brings together 2 Dutchmen whose work focus is on citizen participation in exactly this energy transition. Anatol Itten is Senior Policy Officer for the Dutch government’s Ministry of Economy and Climate. with a focus on citizen participation policy. Siward Zomer leads the Dutch federation of energy cooperatives called Energiesamen. What can we learn from The Netherlands – especially on local cooperative heat – and what is still missing to better empower communities to take ownership and benefit from renewable energy production?

Our two interviewees gave their assessment of the energy community situation in The Netherlands: Even a frontrunner still has some missing pieces for a successful energy transition.

We ended our conversation with a topic that could easily fill another episode: The lack of staff in local governments is, indeed, a huge problem across Europe. Last year, we at Energy Cities have conducted our own study, focusing on the staffing needs of administrations to decarbonise the built environment. Here are some figures from this study we wanted the listeners take with them: local administrations in Europe would need 214 000 new positions between now and 2030 for energy and climate missions. This represents around 2.5 additional full-time positions in each European municipality per year!

This episode was produced with support from SCCALE 20-30-50. SCCALE is an EU project (Horizon 2020 programme) which makes collaboration happen to get many more energy communities up and running. The people behind SCCALE203050 work on a methodology and toolkit for citizens, cities and policy makers. If you, too, want to see more local energy communities across Europe, check out the toolkit and explore all of the project’s resources at the website sccale203050.eu.