With the energy transition, new stakeholders have the chance to enter the energy supply sector and to develop investment solutions for energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects. Energy communities are now defined in the Art. 16 of the Directive on the Internal Market for Electricity Directive on “Citizen Energy Communities” and in Art. 22 of the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources on “Renewable Energy Communities”. Citizens get an opportunity to invest into small-scale energy-solutions and thus to shape the energy transition. Several types of financial participation have been developed on the market:
Energy cooperatives: citizens invest in local projects and are directly involved in developing and shaping these projects.
Lending-based crowdfunding for RES or EE projects: citizens lend money for investment with fixed return rate.
Equity-based crowdfunding (crowdinvest): citizens invest in projects or start-ups and become shareholders. The returns depend on the market-success.
To enable crowdfunding options, several funding platforms have already been set-up by private market players (e.g., BetterVest). These however include projects as developed by these market players, they do not have an Alpine-specific focus and do not enable Alpine citizens to search for investment opportunities in the Alps.
 Energieagentur Rheinland-Pfalz GmbH (2016: „Geschäftsmodelle für Bürgerenergiegenossenschaften. Markterfassung und Zukunftsperspektiven.
Review of existing crowdfunding platforms and (green) financing solutions for RES and EE projects (e.g., public-private-(people) partnerships (PPP(P), cooperatives). Review of outputs from existing EU project dealing on the topic, such as Alpgrids (ASP project), Smart village (ASP project).
-> Identify Alpine-specific challenges and needs to further support such solutions in the Alps.
Test solutions for the specific challenges, a set of pilot projects is launched: e.g., to develop energy cooperatives with a link to preserving historic buildings, crowdfunding for investments linked to biogas use, etc.
Considering the sensitive Alpine environment and potential conflicts, a smart coordinated approach to steer the development of renewable energy systems is necessary in the Alps. Also, the development of energy-efficiency solutions needs to be tailor-made in the Alps, e.g. to meet the specific needs in areas with low-population density. To realize ambitious energy savings, the transition towards climate-neutral Alps will also require a change in behavioural patterns, lifestyles and business models which have specific patterns in the Alps that require customized approaches.
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