By Adam Ajzensztejn, IDC Energy Insights
A shift of power is taking place, a transition from large centralized power plants with extensive transmission and distribution networks to small community-led renewable distributed generation projects, often heavily reliant on locally produced bioenergy.
Some consumers have grown tired of the old energy model and have taken matters into their own hands to deal with the issues close to their heart. To this aim, a new wave of prosumer — the community prosumer — has sprung into action, using good old-fashioned community spirit to capitalize on local renewable energy resources, subsidies, and a free market. These communities include villages, towns, and even islands, where inhabitants have mobilized, invested, and changed their energy model as well as their entire economic and social future, providing the catalyst for sustainable development.
The community-led prosumer scheme shakes the old energy model. These communities do tick many of the boxes for a sustainable energy future. However, whilst today they may not stack up economically without the aid of subsidies and grants, it is just a matter of time before they do. When they do, the emphasis will shift to utilities that will need to cope technically and financially, carving out a niche under the new energy reality or at minimum requiring them to redefine their role.