While in the past only a few actors dominated generation and transmission, the picture has been changing during recent years. The trend of citizens “taking back” power over the energy system is increasing: distributed generation, unbundling, citizen co-operatives or re-municipalisation of grids are phenomena often described as the democratisation of energy.
Through new technologies, citizens gain more responsibility and become prosumers(producers and consumers) rather than mere consumers of electricity. What’s more, many citizens request an active part in the financing, planning and permitting of new generation and transmission sites. Still, opposition for infrastructure projects on the ground continues to be fierce. New approaches and solutions are urgently needed.
The European Union plays an increasing role in energy policy, be it through the climate and energy packages for 2020 and 2030, the Emission Trading Scheme, Projects of Common European Interest (PCI) and the recently announced Energy Union.