Exploring Energy Citizenship in Poland

Old challenges and innovative ideas
February 9, 2023

Our series of co-creation workshops seeks to gather perspectives from citizens, activists and experts on energy issues, and at the end of 2022 it was the turn of our Polish partners to host in Wrocław. We received this report from the engaging and thought-provoking event.

The workshops were attended by both residents of Housing Community Wrocław South and people from other parts of the city, NGOs and city activists who are interested in creating energy communities. Due to the fact that the buildings of the SMWP were built mainly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, elderly people constituted a significant group of participants. Workshop participants were quite enthusiastic about the idea of energy citizenship and energy communities. Many of these people were involved in the process of creating the Wrocław Solar Power Plant, which was one of the first and largest initiatives of this type in Poland. During the workshop, participants discussed, among others, the challenges on the way to energy citizenship on several national, civic, information and technological levels. Among the crucial challenges in Poland, residents mentioned energy oligopolies, a centralized energy network, a lack of institutions supporting knowledge about RES technology and organizational issues, the passivity of local communities, and a lack of trust.

Many original proposals were developed in terms of both tools promoting the idea of energy communities and tools supporting the creation and functioning of energy communities. These solutions include the creation of Information and Contact Points on Energy Communities and Energy Citizenship within the existing Local Activity Centres. Another tool proposed at the workshop is the Benefits Simulator, a physical model of the energy community illustrating the functioning of the energy community and the use of technologies based on RES. Thanks to this simulator, citizens could understand the idea of energy communities and its consequences in a tangible way.

Participants were treated with vegan food and local produce – good for health and climate! One of the participants summarised that it was an ”interesting workshop that brought hope to the participants.”