EMPOWERING CITIZENS TO ADDRESS THE CLIMATE CRISIS
Launch of a new international project to empower Europe’s citizens to take ownership of the climate change debate and reduce their carbon footprint, in which QPV is one of the partners.
According to this ambitious new research project, the climate crisis can only be effectively addressed if citizens are empowered to play a much more active role in transforming the energy sector, participating in meeting the EU’s ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by 55% within a decade. Launched in December 2021 as part of the European Green Deal initiative, the project encourages an explicitly citizen-led bottom-up approach compared to more top-down strategies and policy statements, such as at the recent government summit in Glasgow (COP26). QPV is one of nine international project partners.
“It is people who make the difference in climate change, so the poorest in our society can benefit,” says project coordinator Dr. Ana Belén Cristóbal López of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: “In fact, it is often the poorest in our society who stand to gain the most by reducing their carbon emissions and saving money on heating, lighting and transport.”
The project, called AURORA (Achieving a New European Energy Consciousness), will work with 7,000 citizens in five locations in Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain to give them a greater say in how their energy is generated and used. These communities of ‘citizen scientists’ will collectively finance local photovoltaic installations to produce a total of approx. 1 megawatt of renewable energy. To make the climate crisis less abstract for citizens, the project will first focus on raising awareness about the ‘carbon footprints’ of our daily energy choices. Citizens will receive personalized recommendations on how to make more informed energy choices to reduce their emissions.
The results will be shared with many other citizens across Europe with the aim of initiating a bottom-up movement for change. The project will therefore also advocate politically for a more citizen-driven approach to tackling the climate crisis, for example by engaging with the UN Environment Program and European policy makers preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt (COP27) in 2022.
The AURORA project is part of the EU’s renowned “Horizon 2020” program and started in December 2021. EUR 4.6 million will be invested over the next 3.5 years.
The AURORA project consortium consists of nine institutions from six countries:
- Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain (Coordinator)
- Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
- Centre for Sustainable Energy, United Kingdom
- Forest of Dean District Council, United Kingdom
- Institute for Science & Innovation Communication, Germany
- KempleyGreen Consultants, United Kingdom
- Qualifying Photovoltaics, Spain
- Univerza v Ljubljani, Slovenia
- Universidade de Évora, Portugal
The effort is coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Madrid, specifically by Dr. Ana Belén Cristóbal López of the Solar Energy Institute. During the project launch in Madrid, the coordinator described the ambitious goals as follows: “AURORA aims at nothing less than helping local communities democratize the governance of their energy systems. Marginalized groups will also be empowered to make more informed and therefore more sustainable energy decisions”.
QPV will be responsible for ensuring that the photovoltaic installations developed at AURORA meet the highest quality standards and will supervise their operation throughout the project. Therefore, QPV will apply its accredited methodology for quality control of photovoltaic power plants to these smaller rooftop installations. In addition, it will develop the SCADA systems for all the installations, from the measuring equipment to the data storage in the cloud. Finally, it will analyze the operation of the installations with the PVET calculation engine to ensure maximum reliability during the course of the project.
In the coming weeks, the project will share more detailed information online at aurora-h2020.eu The consortium can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org The project coordinator and also representatives from the five demonstration sites are available for media inquiries/interviews.