EC² launches the Energy Citizen Empowerment Kit to encourage inclusive community energy initiatives

New resource helps identify challenges and opportunities for RECs

EC² has just launched a brand new resource to support the planning and implementation of more diverse and inclusive community energy initiatives: the Energy Citizen Empowerment Kit.

Devised with both energy communities and policymakers in mind, the kit focuses on supporting the identification of dynamics of exclusion taking place in the energy system while fostering the design of more inclusive and democratic energy initiatives.

What is an Empowerment Kit?

The Empowerment Kit is a gamified tool that triggers and guides discussion about barriers to participation in the energy system. The tool supports the investigation and identification of potential opportunities and solutions tailored to specific contexts during workshops, brainstorming sessions, energy planning sessions, conferences, and webinars.

How does it work?

The Kit, offered in a digital and printable format in five languages, can be used both online and offline.

It includes instructions for use and sets of cards representing each of four different socio-demographic factors that are associated with dynamics of exclusion: gender, socio-economic background, belonging to an ethnic minority, and housing status.

The socio-demographic factors are used as ‘lenses’ through which users look at five different dimensions that are considered to play a crucial role in enabling or hindering citizens' participation and engagement in the energy system: knowledge and skills, legal, finance/economy, empowerment/psychology, and participation.

Through using the cards, groups or users are invited to consider their own context and answer questions that will help spark discussion and identify possible weak points and inclusive solutions. Cards with examples of solutions in action are also included to inspire possible actions.

Who is it for?

The Kit can be used by anyone working or aiming to work with renewable energy communities. New or aspiring energy communities may work with the kit in meetings to ensure an inclusive approach from the outset, while local governments or community organisers can use it to identify structural barriers and inclusive approaches to citizen participation and engagement with the energy system.

The team from ICLEI, responsible for the Kit, commented:
“The kits have been developed with input from energy communities and experts from the finance, legal and psychology sectors. With this toolkit, we aim to promote a more inclusive and just approach to the set up of community energy initiatives, to increase awareness of structural barriers preventing a wider citizens' participation in the energy sector and transition, while encouraging the identification of tailored solutions to overcome them.”

The Empowerment Kit is freely available on the Community Energy Academy website in a range of formats for online and offline use, as well as the EC² downloads page, and will soon be available in Spanish, Polish, Dutch and Italian as well as English.

Explore the Kit on the Community Energy Academy website