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Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub fulfils mission supporting local sustainable projects across the EU

19 Apr 2024


Ricardo has successfully completed its leading role helping to promote sustainable energy community projects across rural areas in the European Union. 

The European Commission’s Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub (RECAH) was launched in 2022 as part of the Green Deal, a package of policies targeted at making the European Union climate neutral by 2050. 

Selected as a key member of a consortium of expert advisors, Ricardo was instrumental in establishing and managing RECAH which serves as a central resource for EU communities aspiring to initiate their own sustainable energy projects.

These energy communities - typically led by local citizens - advocate for an inclusive and decentralised approach to energy. They emphasize local involvement in developing and implementing sustainable energy solutions tailored to their specific environmental and resource conditions, such as solar and wind power or enhancing energy efficiency in temperate locales. 

The overarching aim is for self-sufficiency and localised environmental, economic, social and environmental benefits, such as through cheaper energy costs, employment opportunities or assistance to vulnerable households, and mitigating climate change by utilising renewable energy.

Over two years, RECAH provided technical support to 90 initiatives across 28 rural energy communities, covering areas like investment opportunities, technological and legal advice, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building. 

For example, in the Energia Del Pallars Jussà community, in north east Spain, an expert helped devise a comprehensive roadmap outlining legal, technical, and risk management strategies for founding and managing an energy cooperative. Meanwhile, the Circular AgroBio community in Portugal explored innovative business models and funding avenues.

RECAH also collated 20 best practice advisories from various EU Member States and produced a series of detailed guidance documents designed to help others navigate the complexities of establishing and managing rural energy initiatives. These resources address critical aspects such as citizen engagement, technology options, legal frameworks, democratic governance, and the roles of local stakeholders, including municipalities, farmers and larger actors.

Eugenia Bonifazi, Associate Director of Policy Strategy and Economics at Ricardo, remarked on the initiative's success:

"The consortium is proud to have supported innovative projects that underscore the benefits of active citizen engagement, demonstrating that with the right support, communities can become self-sufficient in energy, with broader economic and social benefits. With RECAH's closure, the best practices and guidance that were created are intended to inspire and assist other communities in pursuing their sustainable energy goals.”


To access further resources

RECAH Best Practice Advice

RECAH Guidance Documents

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