What is a Sustainable Energy Community?
A Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) is a community in which everyone works together to develop a sustainable-energy system. To do so, they aim as far as possible to be energy-efficient, to use renewable energy and to develop decentralised energy supplies. This integrated approach allows for a balance of demand and supply, which gives the community greater energy autonomy.
The Sustainable Energy Community model begins by establishing a clearly defined geographic area called the Sustainable Energy Zone (SEZ). The SEZ establishes sustainable energy targets that are measured and monitored and creates a focal point for partners, projects and proposals to integrate in a structured way. This allows new technologies and techniques be tried and tested in an incubator or living laboratory environment.
A Sustainable Energy Community is the integration and collaborative action in the wider community (e.g. town or region) to expand and replicate ideas tested in the SEZ. This is delivered through structured engagement with the wider public, private and community sectors to identify synergies and supporting initiatives to influence positive changes in behaviour and policy. An SEC is community in which everyone works together to adopt a more sustainable pattern of energy supply and use.
A Sustainable Energy Community is not about one single action or about many actions – it is about how all of these work together and are integrated to achieve more than the sum of the parts. The Innovation is the Integration - the integrated approach makes it possible to deliver much more than could be done at an individual level.
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