Throughout Europe, energy communities are becoming more abundant as the continent moves towards a cleaner, greener future. It’s easy to see why many people find them appealing — these communities allow organised groups of energy consumers more of a say in their energy choices, while saving money. Member States are discovering that enabling individuals to become more proactive in the energy world helps increase energy democracy, alleviate energy poverty through broader access to money-saving projects, and facilitates the deployment of decentralised renewable energy. Perhaps most importantly, energy communities can drive positive social cohesion and innovation.

As energy communities gain traction, questions pop up: Do energy communities deliver real‑world benefits to the operation of the electricity grid? How do these cooperative efforts differ from commercial aggregators that offer similar services?

Bram Claeys gathered insights from community energy business models and pilot projects to elucidate the elements that provide tangible grid and system benefits and help create a blueprint for energy communities to support the power system. By first laying the groundwork and positioning energy communities in the European energy framework, Claeys builds the case for the system benefits of energy communities and business models within those communities.