Co-Creation Workshops Launch

On 3rd December 2021 the first Online Co-Creation Workshop for EC² took place at the University of Graz.

This article was originally published on the University of Graz website by Annemarie Hofer.

The interdisciplinary Horizon 2020 Project "EC² - Energy Citizenship and Energy Communities for a Clean Energy Transition" focuses on the social, economic and legal conditions that are necessary to transfer our centralized energy system into a decentralized one. The project team at the University of Graz consists of members of the Institute for Psychology under the leadership of Katja Corcoran, the Institute for Public Law and Political Science under the leadership of Iris Eisenberger and the Institute for Civil Law, Foreign and International Private Law under the leadership of Brigitta Lurger.

During the workshop participants discussed the term “Energy Citizenship” and examined the necessary prerequisites to transfer our energy system in a sustainable manner. The participants came from various stakeholder groups, including energy communities, legal advisory, business and industry as well as University.

The participants first focused on the question of what characterizes an energy citizen. In the discussion, the participants especially highlighted the importance of the following aspects: decentralization of the energy market, rising awareness on (energy) rights and requirements, sustainability, the effects of one’s own consumer behaviour and the active participation in the energy transition.

After this the “prototype” of an energy citizen was created. Here it became obvious, that knowledge and resources were crucial to actively participate in the energy transition. Other important aspects were a sense of community and the ability to inspire others.

In the workshop we also asked for the “proper” definition of “Energy Citizenship”. In their answer, the participants especially focused on how the term could be made easier understandably and usable for German language use. The discussion became especially intense when the right to an active participation in the energy transition and the term “fair” were addressed. The participation also wondered whether a sustainable energy transformation was necessarily limited to non-fossil energy sources.

In the last part of the workshop the discussants focused on barriers and facilitators for the development and creation of energy communities. What was evident visually was that there are more barriers than facilitators, at least from the participants perspective. Structural conditions and challenges, e.g. monopolization on the energy market, but also societal challenges, e.g. the disbalance between tenants and landlords, were seen as the main factors for this.

The results of the workshop will be included in the EC² project outcomes, and another series of Co-Creation workshops is planned in spring 2022.

The report on the workshop, written by Celin Gutschi and Johanna Held (currently German only), can be found here: Report on the workshop