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Clean energy for EU islands
12 January 2023

IANOS Project has developed a Community Engagement Toolbox


The Horizon project IANOS develops and applies solutions that can allow for full decarbonisation of Europe’s many islands and increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix and exploiting the resources of islands, including geothermal, wind, tidal and solar energy. Under its community and citizen engagement work stream, IANOS has issued an Engagement Toolbox that provides an extensive portfolio of information and best practice approaches for meaningful participation of local community stakeholders and citizens. The tools and methods presented are designed to address one of the major challenges for the transition towards climate-neutral economies and energy systems that are powered and fuelled by renewable energy sources: involving communities and citizens into decision-making and the development of decarbonisation initiatives. This IANOS deliverable assesses decarbonisation and engagement potentials on the 3 IANOS fellow islands Lampedusa (Italy), Nisyros (Greece) and Bora Bora (French Polynesia) and range of engagement tools that project developers and partners, who can be local authorities, businesses and other local community stakeholders, but also national and international actors can use to engage citizens and communities for successful project implementation.

This IANOS publication describes best practice approaches and engagement tools which have been developed and applied in real-life environments and within existing projects. These are meant to provide guidance and resources that can help navigate through the different stages of citizen and community engagement processes, starting with tools for assessing general local conditions and for identifying community stakeholders whose engagement is relevant or even decisive for successful implementation. It then proposes tools that can be used for outreach and initial mobilisation, for continuous involvement and dissemination, before highlighting the major role the organisation of events and other forms of encounters play in engaging with citizens and stakeholders. The toolbox further presents an example how cooperating with established actors – such as consumer organisations – can help access to information and services that can be valuable for citizen and community engagement (such as market monitoring of energy consumer rights and satisfaction levels). In addition, it puts emphasis on engaging citizens and local stakeholders through community energy initiatives, with information on enabling legal frameworks at EU and national level (with emphasis on Greece and Italy), as well as on planning, preparation, construction and operation phases. It further presents financial and capacity-building tools that are available for project developers who are seeking to establish energy communities, which as such are considered by many decision-makers, in particular among EU institutions, but also across growing numbers of national and regional governments, as a very powerful engagement instrument for a citizen and community-led energy transition.