TECNALIA works on the GRETA initiative to encourage citizens to actively participate in the clean energy transition

15 July 2021

Citizens have the power to accelerate the process towards a more sustainable future

GRETA, Green Energy Transition Actions, offers new insights into how individual citizens can participate in the clean energy transition. By 2050, most households in the EU could participate in sustainable energy actions such as saving energy locally or producing and storing green electricity.

Energy citizenship means having active public participation within energy systems. GRETA is a research initiative that wants to understand how citizens can actively participate in the clean energy transition. Researchers believe that they have the power to accelerate the process towards a more sustainable future. This theory is supported by recent EU legislation that has made it possible for households and communities to produce, store, and sell their own energy.

Study of the social aspects of the energy transition

However, little is known about the complex processes that drive the motivations and willingness of citizens to participate in “energy citizenship” or the barriers that stand in their way.

Energy citizenship is multidimensional. How people act and the information they need to do so must be thoroughly understood. Our international consortium produces new future-oriented knowledge and creates a space for debates on energy citizenship at different levels, from the individual to the political. We will also help citizens, communities, and policy-makers make informed and viable decisions. The energy transition belongs to everyone”, says Helinä Melkas, GRETA project coordinator.

TECNALIA is responsible for the modelling work of GRETA

GRETA will offer new insights into the drivers and factors affecting energy citizenship.
It will also create a comprehensive set of guidelines to equip policy-makers with the necessary tools to advance energy citizenship at the European and international levels.

Our centre leads the definition of modelling frameworks and the development of energy-related models at the local level. We also spearhead the UR BEROA energy community pilot located in San Sebastián. This cooperative formed by the residents themselves supplies hot water and community heating to its members. The cooperative has evolved towards cleaner and more efficient energy solutions and technologies, from an urban heating system that used fuel oil to cleaner energy technologies, such as a biomass boiler. This evolution will be analysed at GRETA to create a better understanding of energy citizenship.

The five goals of the GRETA project are to:

  1. Define who are the citizens involved and clarify concepts, definitions, and perspectives of evolution.
  2. Understand how citizens act and interact individually and collectively within energy communities and if exclusions from this process occur or how they occur.
  3. Develop and test behavioural strategies, approaches and models to facilitate energy citizenship; achieve new processes that lead to decarbonisation.
  4. Achieve an impact by scaling approaches from the local to the regional, national and supranational levels, which leads to generalising the project results for future use.
  5. Enhance the policy-making process towards a more favourable governance, policy, political, legal, and financial framework for the emergence of energy citizenship in the EU.

For further information

The project is coordinated by the LUT University (Finland). It involves a international group of experts from TNO (The Netherlands), University of Bologna (Italy), Fraunhofer ISI (Germany), Virtual Power Solutions (Portugal), TECNALIA (Spain), GESIS (Germany), and Kaskas Media (Finland). The project was officially launched on 7 May, 2021. GRETA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement number: 101022317.