15 December 2019

Business Models for Prosumers: Insights from PROSEU Living lab in Bristol

Buildings are the largest consumer of energy and producer of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. In countries with colder climates, the bulk of this energy consumption and emissions results from space heating and hot water consumption. Therefore, buildings are at the centre of the sustainable energy transition. To meet ambitious climate change mitigation targets - as set out in the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive - emissions from homes must be drastically reduced by 2030 and near eliminated by 2050.

This challenge means new homes must meet near zero energy standards, existing ones must be retrofitted to the highest standards of energy efficiency and heating systems must transition to low/zero carbon sources. This has led researchers and practitioners to explore new solutions. One of the aims of the PROSEU project is to support the research on business models of energy provision.

To this aim, the PROSEU project partner University of Leeds, UK, to complete previous work done in this area, organised a stakeholder workshop in Bristol in December 2019. It brought together key stakeholders in this emerging space, to explore how these business models could be applied to new housing, low carbon heat systems and house retrofits.

Three further focus groups in the city of Bristol took place in the framework of a series of Living lab interventions, organised by PROSEU partners in 9 European countries. The one in Bristol was designed to discuss the issues at stake and focus on the specific challenges at a city scale. The events brought together a diversity of stakeholders including local government, community energy organisations, businesses, citizens, academia and the third sector.

The first workshop, in June 2019, explored the challenges and opportunities facing prosumer business models in Bristol in a post-subsidy landscape - captured in a report. A second roundtable, in November 2019, focussed on the challenges of developing financing models using a community municipal bond structure, being developed by Bristol City Council. A third, in December 2019, delivered jointly with Bristol Energy Company, focussed on the challenges of developing domestic energy service business models. At the end, workshop participants developed a series of policy recommendations for local and national governments which could facilitate the increased adoption of domestic energy service business models.

For PROSEU’s report exploring the different Business models being adopted to enable renewable energy generation and self-consumption in the European Union, please click here. It explains why Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities are necessary, what kinds of value they might be trying to capture in the energy transition, and how they can be empowered through EU member states’ energy policy and regulation.

For more information PROSEU’s Living labs, please click here.