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Consumer (Co-)Ownership in Renewables, Energy Efficiency and the Fight Against Energy Poverty – a Dilemma of Energy Transitions

Written by Jens Lowitzsch
The article was published in Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review (RELP), 9, 3, 2019, S. 5-21.


In contemplating the launch and implementation of an Energy Union, the European Commission envisioned a regulatory framework “with citizens at its core, where citizens take ownership of the energy transition, benefit from new technologies to reduce their bills, participate actively in the market, and where vulnerable consumers are protected”.1 Regarding the question of how consumers benefit from these objectives, the Commission Communication “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers”2 identified a number of obstacles and highlighted areas for improvement with respect to three pillars of consumer policy. These are consumer empowerment, smart homes and networks, as well as data management and protection. Consumer empowerment poses three challenges in particular: (i) motivating consumers to increase demand-side flexibility; (ii) improving energy efficiency, while (iii) reducing energy poverty. These interlinked structural challenges are not limited to the European Union.

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