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The Renewable Energy Community of Cernusco sul Naviglio

Location: Cernusco sul Naviglio, Italy

Timespan: 2022-ongoing

Partners: Municipality of Cernusco sul Naviglio, University of Bergamo, public sector organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses and private companies, citizens.

Relevant SDGs: 7, 11, 12, 13

Image by Matej Sajgal (via Unsplash)

In 2022, as part of its policies aimed at increasing energy efficiency, the Municipal administration of the Northern Italian town of Cernusco sul Naviglio began to explore the possibility to promote the creation of a Renewable Energy Community (REC). RECs are groupings of actors (producers and consumers of renewable energy) which are based on open and voluntary participation. A REC is established as an autonomous legal entity (which can, for instance, take the form of an association, a third sector organization, a cooperative, a benefit cooperative, a consortium, a partnership, etc.) whose members are natural persons, small and medium-sized enterprises, local authorities, municipal administrations, research and training institutions, religious entities, third sector organizations and environmental protection bodies. The main objective of a REC is to provide environmental, economic or social benefits at the community level to its members and the local areas in which it operates. The REC therefore becomes a tool to increase energy efficiency, and to fight climate change and energy poverty.

As part of this effort, the Municipality first developed the idea internally, and subsequently commissioned a group of energy experts at the University of Bergamo to carry out an exploratory study, with the aim of promoting the creation of a local REC among all the relevant categories of stakeholders. In the course of 2023, two town hall meetings were organised to raise awareness among citizens and stakeholders and to address participants’ questions and concerns. A mechanism aimed at formally collecting local stakeholders’ expression of interest (in becoming members of the REC) was also implemented, which was followed by the production of a feasibility study focusing on the creation of possibly two separate RECs in the area of Cernusco sul Naviglio. 

In GOGREEN, we define the green SDGs as the following SDGs: SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15

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