In order for the energy transition to be a success, citizens of the metropolitan region must be engaged in the process and are encouraged to contribute by means of ‘bottom-up energy initiatives’. The municipality seeks to stimulate initiatives by providing subsidies and non-financial aid. A variety of obstacles do however stand in the way, preventing a meaningful contribution of these initiatives. In my upcoming blog posts I hope to understand the roles played by these initiatives by taking a closer look at how they are organised and what they need in order to be able to efficiently collaborate with stakeholders such as the municipality.
Possessing over a cooperative organisational structure allows for substantial participation and engagement from the community. These are crucial components which lead to success. Characteristics of this organisational structure, such as internal democracy, additionally give citizens the possibility to partake in the initiative’s activities. Furthermore, the specific division of tasks into a board of directors and management committee, allows citizens to take up formal roles and responsibilities (based on their backgrounds and knowledge). This serves in the best interest of a local energy initiative. Additionally, a diversity of professionalism which takes shape in the form of possessing specific knowledge and skill sets is considered to be of importance.
I identify a series of benchmarks which can be used by Amsterdam’s local energy initiatives in order to become a better collaboration partner for the municipality. In random order, these are: the mobilisation of residents in the neighbourhood, perseverance in combination with a strong and shared ambition, access and usage of networks, a solid organisational structure (such as a energy cooperative), an understanding of relevant subject matters and processes, and lastly, being able to work with municipal frameworks and schemes. Disclaimer: The generated list of criteria takes academic literature, conversations with local energy initiatives, and input from presentations into consideration. With this in mind, financial barriers and possibilities were not taken into account. To find out more, read on (in Dutch)!
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