Definition of and Criteria for 100% RES Communities

Published by Pia Buschmann on 23.07.2013

Within the transition towards renewable energy sources (RES), activities on the regional/ community level play a crucial role, because this is the major realm of implementation and participation. In order to be able to identify, advance and evaluate the potential and dynamics on this level, a definition of and criteria for “100% RES Communities” have been developed for the European level by the project partners. Beyond this definition, no other attempt of defining or measuring “100% Res Communities” can be found in professional literature.

As a mission statement of what actually constitutes a “100%-RES-Ideal-Region” the German project partner deENet, has developed an image, stating “A 100%-RES-Ideal-Region covers its energy demand entirely with RES with respect to electricity, heating, and mobility. The region acts very energy efficiently and includes the regional potentials in a comprehensive manner (…)”.
European communities are facing different legal, political, financial and topographical challenges and opportunities.  The definition has thus to be applied with a certain flexibility on front-runner and beginning communities. Nevertheless, the definition serves as a linking element aiming to create partnerships, interactions and transfer to different communities.

In addition to several basic eligibility premises for relevant communities/ entities aiming to gain the status of a 100% RES Region, a criteria catalogue has been developed in order to enable a detailed comparison and evaluation. The criteria cover conceptual, qualitative as well as quantitative aspects that are in turn rooted within four major, interrelated dimensions of “100% RES Communities”:

  • Spatial dimension (building, quarter, village, town, district, region etc.),
  • Thematic dimension (contents related to economy, technology, policy, sociology, ecology etc.),
  • Normative dimension (actual amounts of RES, 100%-target, sustainability, regional development etc.),
  • Temporal dimension (the stage of development towards 100 % RES).

As many communities still remain in an early phase of the process towards 100 % RES, it is not sufficient to focus on their status quo and the quantity of RES. Hence, other factors are equally taken into account by the criteria. This may concern statement/decisions/documents, expressing the will of the local actors, and ongoing activities within the “100 % RES Community” are considered within the assessment (e.g. signing the Covenant of Mayors, national/ international visibility, other unique features).