At a conference in Frankfurt am Main on Saturday, the engage research project presented the Energiewende-O-Mat. It is Germany’s first and currently only digital contact point for citizens who want to get actively involved in the energy transition. At energiewendeomat.de, users can find projects and initiatives in which they can get involved financially or personally.
“The vast majority of Germans support the goals of the energy transition and see it as a joint task. However, only a few people are actually involved in its implementation. This is also because there is often a lack of information and low-threshold opportunities to participate in energy transition projects. With the Energiewende-O-Mat, we want to close this gap,” explains Dr. Kathleen Pauleweit, scientific officer at IKEM. She took a leading role in the development of the online tool.
The Energiewende-O-Mat is based on the idea of the Wahl-O-Mat and works in a very similar way, says Pauleweit: “Users answer a few questions about themselves and their wishes for their involvemnt. Based on the answers, the Energiewende-O-Mat then suggests projects that best match the interests of the users – for example, an anchoring in the respective region. This eliminates the need for time-consuming research, and the commitment to the energy transition can begin immediately.”
For the Energiewende-O-Mat, the engage scientists not only identified numerous current energy transition projects by companies, cooperatives, associations and initiatives from all over Germany during the research phase, but also identified five participation models that enable broad sections of the population to access them as easily as possible.
- Financial participation, e.g. via citizens’ energy companies
- Voluntary involvement, for example in local energy transition initiatives
- Information and advice, e.g. energy advice from consumer centers
- Individual electricity tariffs, through green electricity providers or energy cooperatives with citizens electricity tariff
- Support and promotion, for example through patronage
The international engage conference also made clear that these participation models are already being widely used and are making a concrete contribution to the energy transition. Around 160 experts from all over Europe came together to discuss current energy transition projects with citizen participation and best practices – such as the inclusive design of the projects – in workshops and an on-site visit.
engage explores the potential of citizen participation and other social innovations for a successful and inclusive implementation of the energy transition. The Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM), eueco GmbH, the Bündnis Bürgerenergie and the 100prozent erneuerbare stiftung are working together on the project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.