[16.09.22] Getting the best deal for consumers in the energy transition

By Eoin Kelly, energy policy officer at BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation 

The Horizon 2020 project CLEAR-X is encouraging European citizens to make the shift to renewable energy through running collective purchase campaigns across six European countries. The project, running mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, will offer consumers the chance to buy renewable technologies including heat pumps and PV panels at a competitive price, guiding them through the process and providing them with information and installation. 

Partners in the project have noticed a significant increase in consumer interest in renewable technologies, due in large part to the ongoing energy price crisis – for many consumers, renewables have progressed from being an environmental choice to an economic choice. The project partners are advocating for governments to particularly target low income consumers and those in energy poverty with schemes that allow the switch to renewables and energy efficiency to include everyone, not only those who can cover the upfront costs. 

In terms of legislation, the project has highlighted eight key barriers to the energy transition for consumers looking to make the switch. Beyond the high initial cost of renewable technologies and the lack of installers, split incentives between landlords and tenants serve as a further barrier for consumers (as BEUC DG Monique Goyens explained in a recent blog).  

Project partners have noticed this problem in the private rented sector not only for improving energy efficiency, but also for installing renewables – in most cases there is little incentive for landlords to invest in renewables on their tenants’ behalf. One possible solution to this issue could be to create an EU-wide tenants’ right to electricity, while the issue of splitting the burden of CO2 pricing in Germany between tenants and landlords might also point to a path forward. 

The first collective purchase campaign kicked this September in Slovenia, with Slovakia and Lithuania following in October and November, respectively. For more information, to sign up to the newsletter or to participate in the schemes, visit www.clear-x.eu