What is community energy? Why and how municipalities and citizens should participate in the energy transition? Overview of community energy in Finland.
Salvatore Ruggiero, PhD
Aalto University, School of Business
21 May, Helsinki
Communityenergy: What isit?
• In Finnish “yhteisöenergia”
• Various definitions exist but in general community energy (CE) means community
ownership and involvement in renewable energy initiatives.
• It is a very heterogeneous sector, common aspects are:
1. Citizens’ involvement in setting up and running RE projects through community
enterprises, co-operatives, development trusts, housing associations, SMEs,
2. A co-operative, democratic or non-corporate structure in which individuals
participate actively in decision making
3. Aim at generating benefits for the local people
4. Profits returned to the community or being re-invested in other community
Community benefit scheme:
Developers pay a fixed amount to affected
communities. The community has limited
involvement in the project.
Local residents can buy shares in a project.
Participation in financial risk. E.g. wind projects
in Denmark must offer minimum 20% ownership
to local residents
Commercial developers and communities are
partners. Joint ownership and responsibility for
carrying out the project.
Energy cooperatives or other local community
Local communities have full ownership and
responsibility for the project. They receive all the
profits.(Hyland and Bertsch, 2018 adapted from Walker & Devine-Wright, 2008)
Whatarethe benefitsof communityenergy?
The main benefits are:
1. Socio-economic regeneration
2. Increased local acceptance
(Berka and Creamer, 2018)
In a fossil fuel-free
scenario, wind power in
Finland would increase
by a factor of 10 =>
How to ensure social
• Also the term acceptability can be found but is different from the term acceptance!
• Acceptance= behavior that enables, promotes or supports the use of a technology (e.g. purchasing and using
the technology or proclaim it)
• Acceptability= attitude, specific mind-set or evaluative judgement of a technology (it can be local or national
and can change over time)
• Acceptance (i.e. supportive behavior) is the outcome of acceptability (i.e. positive attitude).
• Therefore, to obtain RE technology acceptance one needs to work on acceptability!
N.B.: Besides by ownership and participation in planning and decision-making, acceptability is influenced also by:
• Place-related meanings and perceptions about landscape and noise
• Owners of first or second homes
• Emotions in various phases of project development
(Janhunen, 2018; Huijts et al. 2012)
technology acceptance in all thecountries?
(Hyland and Bertsch, 2018)
Acceptance rate of local wind farm in Ireland
In Ireland, respondents were more willing to
accept a wind farm with some form of
compensation scheme or participatory model
than without compensation (Hyland and
In Sweden, respondents were more willing to
accept wind farms owned by a municipality or
a cooperative than a private company (Ek and
=> Involving citizens is a better solution
than not involving them!
No database available for CE initiatives in Finland. However,
• 79 REScoops can be found in the Pellervo’s database. Of
these, about 50 are involved in RE generation
• About 20-30 community energy projects identified through
internet searches and the LEADER program database
=>Therefore, in Finland the estimated number of CE projects is
less than 100.
• Most of the initiatives focus on renewable heat production
from forest biomass
• The majority of the initiatives are located in rural areas
• More housing companies investing in solar PV
Anexampleof “urban” communityenergy: The
• In 2017, an investment in a solar PV system was
made to reduce the environmental impact of the
• Initially, the solar PV plant was intended to produce
electricity only for the common parts of the
• Then the housing company joined the FinSolar
project as a pilot case to test a new IT system that
would allow the apartment owners to share the
• Finsolar received a permission to test the new IT
system in cooperation with two DSOs and other
• The apartment owners have a tax exemption on the
• Otherwise taxes need to be paid on the electricity
generated inside the property grid.
Thank you for your attention!
Salvatore Ruggiero, PhD | Postdoctoral researcher
Tel.: +358 504359025 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org