In this chapter, the authors address the role of local energy communities (LEC) in the transition toward a low- or even carbon-neutral energy system. LECs are contextualized in the broader framework of the energy revolution started after Paris Agreements in December 2015 that led to the definition of 17 “sustainable development goals (SDGs)” by United Nations (UN) and to the establishment of the Clean Energy Package by European Commission in 2019. At global level, Energy Communities play a pivotal role to achieve United Nations SDG 7 (“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”) and 11 (“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”), the former more focused on rural communities and the latter more focused on urban context. This is even more true if thinking that reducing energy poverty, by bringing clean and affordable energy in rural areas through hybrid energy systems, is a fundamental strategy to develop rural contexts while also reducing migration toward urban areas and megacities. At European level, Energy Communities have a fundamental role in a consumer-centered energy system in which consumers and prosumers are fully engaged and play an active role both in single and in aggregated forms also with new forms of citizen participation (citizen energy communities). Indeed, LECs provide the right framework for increasing awareness, engagement, and empowerment of citizens in the energy sector. Moreover, LECs can be considered as multi-energy environments in which different energy systems and vectors can be integrated in order to optimally exploit the synergies among energy and non-energy networks (e.g. water distribution network and desalination systems). This is even more true when dealing with “geographical” or “energy” islands in which local energy communities are well identified by geographical or network boundaries. In the second part of the chapter, the authors will provide a vision on how the technologies and systems presented in this book, implemented in local multi-energy communities, can support the achievement of goal of a transition toward carbon-neutral energy systems. Finally, the authors present a vision for the future role of LECs in the energy transition, starting from the experience of European Green Deal.
Transition Potential of Local Energy Communities / Comodi, Gabriele; Spinaci, Gianluca; Di Somma, Marialaura; Graditi, Giorgio. - (2022), pp. 275-304. [10.1002/9783527833634.ch11]