Activating a community energy market for bioenergy: a new e-market environment connects biomass heating supply chain stakeholders
While bioenergy holds, in practice, one of the highest potential for replacing fossil fuelled heat and remains a leading technology in the EU renewable energy heating sector, there is a significantly untapped market uptake potential for it. Several barriers prevent citizens from becoming (bio)energy producers and bioenergy projects to be more appealing, including a lack of preparedness for communities to tap the full bioenergy market potential, and a lack of bioenergy stakeholders’ awareness of the potential of communities. To fill these gaps, BECoop, a project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme, launches a new tool supporting stakeholders involved in the creation or update of community (bio)energy projects.
The e-market environment supports various supply chain stakeholders when developing a community bioenergy project on defining the services and activities needed to support their cases. It demonstrates the various stakeholder interactions and activities/services that must take place to set up an effective and sustainable local supply chain and a community bioenergy project, streamlining the process. The user-friendly, easy to use and intuitive tool, unique in this sector, allows entrepreneurs to identify and contact stakeholders taking part in the supply chain of biomass heating solutions, to carry out their projects, learn from the experience of others and from similar initiatives. It connects supply chain stakeholders to support the creation or operation of new and existing energy communities, including the project pilot energy communities. Now available, it gathers over 60 already sharing their offers/demands, while a second version will be ready by April 2023 and all stakeholders are invited to contribute to grow the environment.
This tool (soon joined by others such as a self-assessment tool) works complementarily with the support services offered by BECoop, encouraging the development and operation of community bioenergy and heating projects. For a people-powered energy system, the Horizon 2020-funded project BECoop (2020-2023) aims at putting communities in charge of their local renewable (bio)energy generation. Bioenergy, a renewable energy source deriving from organic materials, can be used to produce, among else, electricity, heat, and fuels. BECoop is unlocking and activating the underlying market potential of community bioenergy, by providing the necessary conditions, technical as well as business support tools. The project aims to make community bioenergy projects more appealing to potential interested actors and to foster new links and partnerships among the international bioenergy community.
What can users find in the BECoop e-market environment? The tool is not only restricted to members of an energy community/cooperative or RESCoop: it engages all European stakeholders involved in the bioenergy, biomass supply chain and energy communities. Biomass owners/suppliers/management companies, equipment manufacturers, ESCOs and installers, cooperatives/energy communities/RESCoops, investors, research centres, public institutions and many more can explore offers and needs uploaded by others or submit theirs. The offers and demands can be filtered by category (products, services, advice, etc.), country and stakeholder type.
What comes next? An educational an informational vector will be developed and included in the environment to help boost local bioenergy supply and demand, mobilize citizens around existing or new community bioenergy projects or increase their feasibility by identifying providers of technical, business, financial, or community model solution providers. The vector will demonstrate to potential bioenergy RESCoops, in a graphical way, the various stakeholder interactions and activities that must take place for setting up an effective and sustainable local supply chain and a community bioenergy project. Participants’ evaluation and feedback will constitute essential input for enhancing and improving the platform’s usability, do not hesitate to share your views with BECoop.