Choose step:
Click on phase
to select
The Civic
Energy Cycle
1. Initiation
2. Planning
3. Roll-out
4. Reflection
Show Civic Energy Cycle
previous: Community stakeholder consortium formation | next: Selection of enablers

Phase: Initiation

Specification of targeted benefits

The selected benefits of the initiation phase determine the suitability and the selection of the enabling factors in the planning phase.
Many of the benefits a defined community would like to obtain from taking control of its energy system are not only purely financial but also involve less quantifiable social and environmental targets and community wellbeing. Since these benefits adopt the function of business model objectives, they should be specified by the community stakeholder consortium at the beginning.

The main community benefits of civic energy can therefore be found in the following categories:

  1. Economic
    Financial profit, discounts, etc.; local value chains
  2. Environmental
    Reduce carbon dioxides emissions; protecting natural environment
  3. Social
    1. Socio-Cultural
      Social cohesion; public acceptance; feeling of ownership
    2. Socio-Economic
      Reduce energy poverty; increased employment in local area; investments in local services
    3. Socio-Technical
      Increase acces to green energy by an affortable way; reliable access to resources; active role in the broader energy transition; Improved comfort and indoor climate
  4. Technical
    Energy technology innovation; local energy infrastructure developments; flexibility in supply and demand management

Community Benefits are at the heart of Civic Energy. Here you can find insight on the different forms of benefits and the ways those can be delivered to the communities involved.

The COBEN project has taken a deeper look at the targeted benefits of various civic energy initiatives around Europe. You can find a full list of relevant real-life examples for the different benefit categories in our pilots' civic energy business models below.

Business Model name
Benefits - Economic
financial benefits: € 130.000,- yearly saved on energy bill cooperative members
financial benefits for the community
Economic (direct and indirect) through initiatives that provide potential for community ownership, income and co-ordinated approaches to bulk procurement of fuel, energy efficiency or heating measures
Economic; keep profits of RE in the local economy
economic: optimal use of solar pv installation (that are 100% curtailed right now)
financial benefits: lower energy bill for cooperative members
financial; lower energy bills for cooperative members
New sources of financial support
Benefits - Environmental
Reduction in energy consumption
Rest heat => impact CO2 emmisions
Fighting against the salinization of resources in water-scarce areas
CO2 reduction by a shift from fossil fuel to waste energy
Protecting the natural environment and living conditions
More efficient use of the energy
Greener energy – lower carbon footprint (more wind/solar energy in holiday homes)
Promotes conversion to renewable energy and thereby reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Purchase of a new 7-seater community transport electric vehicle to reduce transport-related CO2 emissions through reduction in multiple repeat independent car journeys for youth and other activities.
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
To reduce carbon dioxide emissions: theoretical potential to avoid 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year
ecological/ climate policy: extend RE production
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
More renewable energy production
Greener means of transport – Lower carbon footprint (more wind/solar in transport)
realisation of municipal and county CO2 reduction goals as determined by covenant of mayor
Benefits - Socio-Cultural
social; boosting social cohesion in an area under demographic decline/ connecting villages
To ensure the social support for the broader energy transition
Improving public health
To embed the active role of civil society in the broader energy transition
social benefits: organising community driven projects to stimulate social cohesion
The settlement in the villages becomes more attractive when the dwellings have a better quality and a lower energy cost
gain knowledge about how to overcome barriers regarding both shared mobility and electrified mobility
support base for wind turbines in landscape
Network for sharing experiences between energy communities
Uppsala municipality build knowledge to new city district planning
Building community capacity that supports the long-term implementation of actions in the local energy plan.
Creation of an SPV to enable citizens participation
social acceptance for energy park Pottendijk
social: activate the community
Political; making a combined wind energy/ solar park politically acceptable by generating local profits
Community cohesion and control
Benefits in terms of branding – “Green and innovative community”
Willingness of the community to connect to the heat net
Increase 'footfall' to the new community hub and cafe.
public acceptance for RE projects: 20% of solar fields owned by surrounding community
social cohesion: 300 cooperative members working on community based energy transition
Benefits - Socio-Economic
less energy poverty due to lower energy costs
possibility for citizens in environment to become shareholder
Social benefit through reduction in energy costs and in number of people in fuel poverty (household required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use)
political; putting undeveloped industrial lots to good use
financial community benefits: € 22.500,- yearly for financing community based projects
Communities empowered to undertake energy planning activity through increased competency and reduction in associated costs using a tested model
financial benefits for the community as a whole (Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality) as overnight capacity development – more energy efficient holiday homes, ensuring additional overnight capacity in shoulder seasons also, i.e. .
To reduce energy poverty in the Eeklo households
Reduce building energy costs through increasing the use of on-site renewable generation that will otherwise be exported to the local grid and purchase at a higher cost when required
social: financial contributions for organisations that use/ rent the community buildings
Mapping out the sustainability of holiday homes within the destination, in order to strengthen the rental of the Danish holiday homes.
increased employment in the local area and strengthening of the business community
Cheaper Energy (lesser usage or cheaper energy - fighting energy poverty)
realisation of a fund to realise projects in the environment of the wind turbines
Community control of benefits delivery of new energy services
economical benefits: keeping profits of renewable energy within the local economy
economical; boosting economic dynamism is an area with a declining local economy
political; tangible benefits for the local economy with large scale RE development
Social/ political; structural financing of the Locally Generated Emmen support system for civic energy initiatives in Emmen
Community control of the pricing for the heat net consumers
social benefits: reduce energy costs for lower incomes
Financial; funding energy transition initiatives for Emmen citizens
economic benefits: boosting entrepreneurship/ economic dynamism
Benefits - Socio-Technical
Securing a more reliable water supply and a more efficient access to resources
Encourage an increase in the uptake of electric vehicles on the island through the use of a 'demonstration' community-run electric vehicle.
Nonenergy benefits, such as greater comfort
Greener Energy usage in private homes
Community participation in renewable energy infrastructure
Improve access to community transport.
improved comfort and indoor climate (increased health) in the home
Cooperative partnership via dedicated SPV
Restheat available via the production from AMG
Creation of an SPV to enable citizens participation
To increase citizen-acces to green heat in an affordable way (in line with todays natural gas prices)
To increase ownership of local heat sources, local heat distribution and delivery by a citizen cooperation model according to the ICA principles
political: promoting system efficiency and system innovation
supply of single housing area of Neuenkirchen/Bramsche with surplus heat
ecological; help the community in their aim to be energy self sufficient
Greener Energy – more efficient energy use
More efficient use of energy resources - projects tailored to resource and strategic development requirements and opportunities for improving local demand side management and storage realised
supply of single housing area of Bramsche with surplus heat
Energy consumers can play a more active role in the energy transition
Supply of municipal areas of Georgsmarienhütte with surplus heat
Increased and facilitated possibilities for households, companies and organisations to match and team up in energy communities
Strong alignment of local energy planning with development planning activity undertaken by local authorities and public support agencies
Benefits - Technical
To accelerate the broader energy transition
Creation of a DHN
Creation of a DHN
extension of the existing district heating network
Optimizing the presence of a pervasive resource
Improve electric vehicle charging provision for residents and encourage an increase in the number of visitors to the island with electric vehicles.
Install on-site storage infrastructure that allows for the installation of Solar PV panels to supplement the on-site renewable generation once the 'community hub' is operational.
Strengthening and extension of the existing district heating network
Usage of existing surplus heat potentials of the steelmill of Georgsmarienhütte GmbH
More efficient use of energy resources.
Support base for new infrastructure,
Creation of a DHN
short supply chain by organising generation, distribution and consumption in the same zip code area between cooperative members (in that case no energy tax)
extension of the exisiting district heating network