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Heat or eat? A pressing dilemma...

Energy consumers in Europe are facing big challenges. Surging energy bills, uncertainty on energy supply and the need to significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels are front and centre. These immediate threats present people with difficult decisions to make. The latest consumer confidence survey published by the European Commission showed that the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) continued to decline in both the EU and the euro area. 

The shaken consumer confidence is, according to economists, related to the insecurity of what is going to happen to people’s energy bills when winter comes, as the current circumstances make it very difficult to anticipate how much their energy will cost and, most importantly, if they will be able to afford it.

There might, however, be a silver lining. As the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, mentioned at the release of the World Energy Outlook 2022, “Even with today’s policy settings, the energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system.

In other words, the current crisis can be a propeller to accelerate the energy transition.

Enlit Europe 2022 Axel ThiemannAccording to Axel Thiemann, CEO of Sonnedix, the energy crisis has created an opportunity to accelerate, for example, renewable energy: "The current energy crisis is a wake-up call to take stock of the current generation mix and the cost and dependencies.

This presents an opportunity to strengthen efforts to decarbonise and meet the needs of consumers with renewable power – wind and solar – as a green cost-efficient and fast-to-deploy alternative."

An important driver of the energy transition is the democratisation of energy. In a democracy, everyone has a voice. Consumers have a voice that should be heard and acted upon. Consumers are now generating their own clean energy and becoming prosumers. They should be able to use this ownership position that they are in and actively participate in the energy market.

Consumers will increase their individual and collective consumption and sufficiency. And as they do this, they can simultaneously make an impact on energy system efficiency through their own flexibility,” says Michael Villa, smartEn’s Executive Director.


The consumers’ voice must, however, be amplified. Policy making that encourages and facilitates the deployment of renewables, mitigation of financial and regulatory barriers and the deployment of technology that helps integrate the generated clean energy into the grid are imperative to enable consumers to play the important role that they have in the energy transition.

That is why initiatives around flexibility, energy efficiency, digital platforms, green and smart grids, amongst others, are becoming ever more important.By unleashing their flexibility, consumers will help to integrate, in a cost-effective way, more variable renewables,” says Villa.

The energy transition is made for the people, by the people. So how can we involve consumers in the energy market as active participants? Energy communities are a proven successful way of doing it.

Enlit Europe 2022 Michael Villa smartEn       Enlit Europe 2022 Carmen Gimeno GEODE

According to GEODE’s Secretary-General, Carmen Gimeno, energy democracy is closely connected to the concept of energy communities: “Energy communities transform societies by democratising the way in which power is produced and consumed by citizens.

Energy communities help to integrate renewable energy sources and new technologies into a transforming energy system, can boost social innovation and enable consumers to actively engage in the energy transition.

Enlit Europe 2022, Michael Pinto, CleanwattsMichael Pinto, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Cleanwatts, emphasises the critical importance of energy communities: “Renewable energy communities address an urgent and fundamental trilemma of our time: decarbonising the grid while abating energy costs and increasing energy security."

The concept of energy communities is demonstrably beneficial to the consumers and to the entire energy ecosystem. Enabling the growth of communities and scaling them is key to continue involving consumers in the energy market as active participants.

A recent Enlit article highlighted EU projects that are exploring ways to empower communities and develop the concept of the prosumer to a point where they can become more active in the energy scene.


The IANOS project provides some lessons learned in this field. João Maciel, managing director at EDP NEW and IANOS project coordinator, emphasises that creating clarity about the projects is critical to energy communities: “People need to understand exactly what’s at stake and clarity is an issue. We understand technology, but we tend to overlook passing these messages thoroughly onto the community.

Enlit Europe 2022 Joao Maciel EDP     Enlit Europe 2022 Marine Cornelis  

Communicating clearly builds trust and engages people. A transition that is truly people-centric should have that as a guiding principle.

We should not lose our way in the energy transition, our trust-building work has never been more important,” says Marine Cornelis, Executive Director of Next Energy Consumer.

At Enlit Europe this November in Frankfurt, the Democratisation Hub Programme will dive into the initiatives around energy communities, how to implement one, identify persistent barriers and how to overcome them. It also looks at technologies and tools that enable flexibility and an efficient energy system and explores energy communities' role in the market at a time of rising energy costs. Sessions include:

  • Energy Communities - How to overcome financing and regulatory barriers?
  • Energy Communities - Enabling energy efficiency
  • How energy communities can help the DSOs to optimise their grid investments
  • Flexibility Markets - Monetising flexibility
  • How to accelerate decentralised flexibility markets
  • How to organise system efficiency
  • Unlocking your full potential with Energy Communities
  • Energy Communities on Steroids - A capability framework for European-wide interoperable digital platforms

    Check out the full Democratisation Hub Programme


The IANOS project will also be presented in Frankfurt, along with another 40+ EU-funded projects that are focusing on tackling the energy crisis and achieving net zero goals.

        Check out the EU Projects Programme





At Enlit we are breaking down the silos and bringing industries together. Join industry thought leaders at Enlit Europe this November and discover how, through successful cross-sector collaborations, Europe can speed up the energy transition and achieve energy security.

Let’s meet up in Frankfurt and build on the future of energy together.



Diamond Partner

  • Schneider Electric


Platinum Partner

  • Siemens AG


Gold Partners

  • Baker Hughes
  • Energy Web Foundation
  • Energynest
  • Ericsson
  • Gridspertise
  • Palantir
  • SAP
  • Siemens Energy
  • Solar Turbines
  • Wartsila

Silver Partners

  • Alfen
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Capgemini
  • G&E
  • IFS
  • Italgas
  • Landis+Gyr
  • Meters and More
  • Microsoft
  • PRIME Alliance


Knowledge Partner

  • Enel Foundation


Legal & Regulatory Partner

  • Pinsent Masons


Utility Partner

  • Dtek Grids
  • Enel Grids
  • RTE



  • ABS Group
  • AC Boilers
  • Accenture
  • Bergen Engines
  • Cisco
  • Cleanwatts
  • Driivz
  • Efacec
  • EnergyDome
  • Greencom Networks
  • Hive Power
  • Hiven Energy
  • Itron
  • Kaluza
  • Kigen
  • Kore Wireless
  • Kraken Technologies
  • Last Energy
  • Minsait
  • Mytilineos
  • Nextgen
  • Oracle Energy and Water
  • Ormazabal
  • Piclo
  • Pietro Fiorentini
  • ProEnergy Services
  • PSM, a Hanwha company
  • Sentient Energy
  • SLM Solutions
  • Sungrow
  • Trilliant Networks
  • Uniper
  • Waterfall Security Solutions


Initiate Partners

  • EIT InnoEnergy
  • Enel Innovation Hubs
  • IMI
  • Rockstart
  • Siemens Energy
  • Start Up Energy Transition
  • TotalEnergies


Industry Partners

  • ANIE Federazione
  • ANIMA Confindustria
  • Avere
  • CHARGE Energy Branding
  • CO2 Value
  • COGEN Europe
  • currENT
  • dena
  • DERlab
  • E.DSO
  • EASE
  • Elettricità Futura
  • Energia Media
  • ETN
  • Eurelectric
  • Eurogas
  • Euroheat & Power
  • European Biogas Association
  • European Energy Retailers (EER)
  • Flow Batteries Europe
  • Generazione Distribuita (Distributed Generation)
  • Hydrogen Europe
  • IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission
  • IPPF
  • Lombardy Energy Cleantech Cluster (LE2C)
  • OSGP
  • Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico - RSE SpA
  • SmartEn
  • Start Up Energy Transition (SET)
  • VDMA
  • VDMA
  • VGBE Energy