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European Associations Urge Stronger Public Engagement In Alternative Financing

by Joan Segura on 07.10.2016

Joint position on sustainable energy crowdfunding cites lack of awareness and policy support as main hurdles

Brussels, 7 October 2016. The largest challenges facing crowdfunding for sustainable energy today are a lack of awareness of the potential it has to offer and a lack of support on the political level. Such is the assertion of a position paper issued by the EU-funded Citizenergy initiative for public engagement in sustainable energy financing. The paper has been backed by stakeholders representing crowdfunding platforms, energy cooperatives, NGOs, universities, professional associations and networks from across Europe.

Crowdfunding for energy efficiency and especially renewables has increased in popularity throughout Europe over the last years as an alternative to conventional funding methods such as bank loans.  “An emphasis on transparency is something for which crowdfunding offerings are far better equipped than most conventional financial offerings, which can be exceedingly complex,” affirms Citzenergy Coordinator Nuno Brito Jorge. The sector must now help build trust amongst potential new investors by helping them to understand how to best take advantage of sustainable energy offerings. Crowdfunding platforms themselves will have to continue to provide clear and easily understandable information about their sustainable energy offerings while working with local authorities to communicate to the public on crowdfunding’s opportunities and risks.

“While closing the information gap will contribute to a wider uptake of crowdfunding for financing sustainable energy, European policy must also foster a favourable environment that encourages active citizen engagement in the energy transition”, explains Oliver Gajda of the European Crowdfunding Network. Supportive policy for crowdfunding is in the EU’s best interest, as this participatory model can play an important role in financing the EU’s own energy goals. In order to promote participation in sustainable energy projects, the position paper thus includes appeals for financial incentives for citizen participation in project development and for the deployment of coherent tax benefits at the EU level. Both appeals would contribute to a secure business environment that would allow sustainable energy crowdfunding to flourish.

The switch to renewable energies can not be achieved without broad public participation. Breaking down barriers to the crowdfunding of sustainable energy projects can help finance the energy revolution while boosting public acceptance by directly involving individuals in decisions about what type of energy future they would like to support.

Download the policy paper here.

Francesca Passeri

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