The catalyst for social innovation in the energy market

The worrying number of 50 million Europeans suffering from energy poverty calls for innovative solutions. The POWER UP project will promote the emergence of local energy market players with a socio-ecological agenda. Why? Because energy services can be provided at the local level while addressing energy poverty. Those social entrepreneurs will engage vulnerable households to co-design new business schemes around renewables production and energy efficiency. Six cities across Europe, from Spain to North Macedonia will develop pilot programs.

Regional and local public authorities should play a strong role in fighting energy poverty. They can be enablers for the arrival of socially-driven new players on the energy market. Beyond setting renewables targets, public authorities need to translate their plans into concrete new business schemes that drive the market transformation.

The pilots of POWER UP will act as “living labs” where they will experiment with innovative social governance, and implement novel business models together with households affected by energy poverty.

POWER UP Activities

Energy Cities will coordinate the implementation of pilot schemes in six European cities: Eeklo (Belgium), Heerlen (The Netherlands), Valencia (Spain) and Skopje (North Macedonia) as well as in the Campania area (Italy) and in Czech Republic.

Project partners will break new ground by bringing energy poor households and local stakeholders on board (municipalities, social organisations, energy utilities, citizen energy communities etc.) for defining and implementing the most suitable social business model. This may involve 55,588 energy poor consumers and lead to at least EUR 2.5 million investment in sustainable energy before the project end.

Steered by Energy Cities and supported by a leading UK university, a Belgium cooperative, and finance experts, the consortium will build capacity of more than 160 people in local organisations. This will allow these players to either provide affordable energy to fuel poor households, and/or to reinvest benefits to carry out energy poverty mitigation measures.

Six additional sister organisations (5 cities and one municipal company) will join the pilots and follow their capacity building activities to increase own skills. In  the mid and long-term they will be able to replicate the project results: Sister organisations: KUMANOVO-GAS (Municipal Energy company – Macedonia), Castellammare di Stabia (City – Italy), Breda (City – The Netherlands), Albalat dels Sorells (City – Spain), Leuven (Belgium), 2 SEMMO members (City – Czech Republic).

Energy Cities role

Energy Cities coordinates the project’s partners and activities, ensuring effective working relationships, knowledge sharing and cooperation.

In addition, our city network oversees the communication and dissemination strategies, to bring POWER UP’s innovative solutions to a wider audience. We will thereby help furthering the knowledge around the entrepreneurial opportunities and social benefits of a local energy market.

EU emblem This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Grant Agreement no. 957819.