Italian experiences of top-down energy communities: the role of local players

When the Municipality of Milan decided to favour the creation of a Renewable Energy Community in Chiaravalle, a neighbourhood located in the southern part of the city, it carried out a mapping action to understand which actors were already active in the area. The idea was to start an intervention focused on a public-private collaboration, to support a processes of social innovation and encouraging the participation of citizens in the management of the public affairs. Three main players were identified: a non-profit association based in the neighbourhood; the work group promoted by a private foundation’s program in collaboration with a non-profit organizations of social utility, promoting the experimentation of an intervention model for the regeneration, care and shared management of collective open spaces, which is realised through the signing of Collaboration Agreements; and, a non-profit organizations of social utility dedicated to welcoming foreigners and unaccompanied minors, engaged in including these young people in an array of social and cultural activities in the area.

The Municipality involved these three entities to support its aim to increase community cohesion and facilitate the creation of a Renewable Energy Community within the area. Supporting the existing organisations in a neighbourhood has so far proved essential for Municipality of Milan as the initiator and key stakeholder in the energy community project, by adding a bottom-up layer to their specific initiative, as well as encouraging participation, and engagement of residents in the decision-making processes.