Community Energy Handbook

A practical guide to reclaiming power



Alix Bolle
Sara Giovannini
Friends of the Earth Europe

Publication year


The energy transition needs you

Welcome to your community energy handbook. This is your go-to guide, packed with instructions, practical tips and resources, to build a local, community-led renewable energy revolution in Europe. 

Community energy is key to a decarbonised economy and a crucial step in tackling climate change. This is about more than windmills and solar panels. Community energy can help find a new balance between local economies and the global economy. It can help overcome the urban and rural divide, and close the gap between north and south, between rich and poor — because it empowers local people. Community energy leads to energy democracy, holding the promise of an economy and society based on co-operation rather than competition, within the boundaries of planet earth.

Whether you’re a curious individual, a group of people embarking on a renewable energy journey, a local authority making plans, or an up-and-running energy cooperative — this step by step guide is for you.

The organisations behind this book

The book was put together by three organisations who work together to speed up the development of community energy across Europe: Friends of the Earth Europe, RESCoop and Energy Cities. It is brought to you thanks to the help of dozens of experts and local groups who have contributed, so that you are able to be part of the energy transformation we are all working for. If you need more help get in touch with us. You can check out our websites and find our email contacts inside the front cover.

How to read this book

We hope this manual inspires you, and helps you understand the steps to create your very own community energy project.

This handbook can’t cover every aspect of launching a community energy project, but we have included as much information and practical tips as possible to help you navigate the field — and useful links to more resources. This guide aims to be as useful as possible to people and communities across Europe (and maybe further afield), while also providing some specific answers to your questions for a variety of European countries. 

Summaries on the role of local autorities available

Summaries of the chapter of the book dealing with the role of local authorities in supporting community energy are available in Greek, Italian, French, Spanish and Polish. The documents also include additional examples and information on the current legal framework in those countries.

We hope you find this guide valuable in your journey to take on the climate crisis and reclaim power. 

When the time is right, ideas have simmered, and you’ve gathered the right group of people, this booklet will be waiting for you. You can keep coming back to it. The sooner you start, the better!