The project

eating and cooling account for roughly 50% of EU energy consumption from which more than 75% come from fossil fuels. Renewable and clean heating and cooling is a key enabler for a sustainable energy transition towards decarbonisation and energy autonomy in the current energy crisis. Increasing energy efficiency and sustainability of this sector is necessary to achieve the ambitious targets the EU has set within its European Green Deal and recent REPowerEU plan, the most prominent one being climate neutrality by 2050.

Even though community energy is a proved and effective approach to foster green energy transition, unfortunately its potential remains untapped in the heating and cooling sector. ConnectHeat is the first European initiative to develop heating and cooling communities in Europe, putting public authorities and citizens at the heart of energy transitions.

Local and regional public authorities are well positioned to drive the green transition of heating and cooling thanks to their proximity to citizens and territories. Through the implementation of effective heating and cooling decarbonisation strategies including community energy, they can significantly support Europe on its path to becoming the first climate-neutral continent.

ConnectHeat will accelerate the decarbonisation of heating and cooling through an EU-wide implementation of citizen-led and energy community initiatives. It will create an enabling policy and strategic framework and improve and build the capacities of public authorities to trigger innovative community energy initiatives through local participative and cooperative processes leading to increased share of renewables in and higher energy efficiency of heating and cooling across Europe, developing real pilot cases in seven different European regions (BE, BL, ES, HR, IT, DE and PT).

  ConnectHeat will pursuit 7 key objectives:

Enhancing knowledge of the local energy systems and of local sector H&C trends

    • 7 initial surveys in target areas to analyse the local dynamics in H&C and define a reference baseline for the development of H&C community energy initiatives

Empowering cooperation between public authorities, local communities and relevant stakeholders

    • 7 local Stakeholder Advisory Groups (SAGs) created engaging key stakeholders and supporting the whole community energy development process

Increasing expertise and know-how on feasibility and sustainability of community energy initiatives

    • 6 train the trainers sessions transferring know-how and building capacities within the consortium
    • 28 local training sessions enabling key local stakeholders to prepare the ground for energy community projects
    • A practical manual produced providing an overview of the already existing tools, methods and approaches

Triggering dialogue between public authorities, end users and other relevant stakeholders to increase awareness and social acceptence of H&C community energy approach

    • 7 tailored engagement plans in pilot communities to scout awareness, needs and expectations and engage relevant stakeholders
    • 7 local communication campaigns to raise awareness and mobilise stakeholders around all phases of the project
    • 7 Community Energy Boards (CEB) acting as local working groups supporting the setting and development process of energy community projects in each area

Launching concrete implementation of H&C community energy projects in seven real pilot cases

    • 7 real pilot cases implemented and running

Co-creating short- and long-term local strategies for wide-scale H&C community energy concept replication at local level

    • 7 policy roadmaps for 2030 and 2050 in target areas co-created with SAGs and endorsed by local governments
    • A H&C Community Energy Developer’s Blueprint to ensure dissemination and replication of project outputs
    • A position paper collecting recommendations for the improvement of the current policy framework in the project countries

Dissemination of key outcomes, tools, results and lessons learned to foster EU-wide replication

    • An International Stakeholder Advisory Group (ISAG) involving experts on H&C and community enegy topics
    • 7 replicators identified, trained and supported in setting up H&C community energy processes
    • 3 EU-level webinars to spread knowledge on H&C community energy
    • 3 EU-level workshops to stimulate replication in other areas not represented in the project
    • 3 EU-level thematic policy events targeting policy makers and public authorities to foster policy framework
    • 1 Knowledge hub including all resources and a capacity-building toolbox
    • Various communication and dissemination activities all along the project duration


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Coordinated by Ambiente Italia, the ConnectHeat multidisciplinary consortium is composed of 10 partners from all over Europe: