Lightness turns the 6-month milestone!

The Lightness Project has reached its six-month mark and is progressing fast and strong in its different working areas. On May 19th, 2021, all 13 partners held a General Assembly meeting to review the progress made in the project so far, and review and adjust the workplan for the next six months. This brief article summarizes how the project is going in each work area, with an overview of how Citizen Energy Communities are beginning to take form.

In the area of legal and financial assessment lead by ENEA, the team have completed a PESTLE Analysis (examining the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors) of Lightness. It is currently working on a Regulatory Roadmap detailing the possibilities of what could be done in each context. However, legislative frameworks are changing very fast and limiting laws in various countries is a challenge, so there is the need to discuss in detail with pilot leaders what is possible to do in practice in each country.

In the area of technology, led by IES and i.Leco the main achievements of this period include the software architecture for the Citizen Energy Community platform, advances in user experience (UX), and adapting the platform to two types of profiles: technical (for the Lightness pilot leaders) and non-technical for prosumers (residents who, besides consuming energy, will start producing and trading it using the Lightness digital platform).

Regarding engagement initiatives with participant residents there has been significant progress as well. Duneworks, the leader in this area, has already finished the methodology for qualitative monitoring and evaluation specific to the Lightness project, and has started working on the five national engagement plans for the differentiated types of Citizen Energy Communities in each country. This is a foundational contribution to the successful and just engagement of the different communities.

Engagement activities at each pilot site have started but are naturally progressing at different speeds given the unique characteristics of each city and country. For example, since the Italian pilot is a small community, it has moved quickly given the interest of the residents. Other pilot sites involve multiple citizen energy communities such as in The Netherlands which make the process a bit more complex. In France, the pilot site has been changed to Savoi Technolac, a technopole located in Bourget-du-Lac (more info to come soon on this development).

Participants in General Assembly 1

This general meeting also discussed work on Communication and Dissemination which is present all throughout the project. Traza, the team in charge, has submitted the Communication and Dissemination Plan, a living document detailing the potential avenues and strategies to spread the word about Lightness.

Also, looking into the future of the project, R2M as project coordinator, is already thinking about how to maximize the project results. This includes identifying opportunities to scale and replicate the business models developed, seek investment in future citizen energy communities, and overall explore the full potential for the Lightness solutions that will be created during the life of the project.

The next general assembly meeting is to be held on November 2021 (month 12 of the project) to do a similar review at that point. It is hoped that the Covid-19 pandemic situation would allow for an in-person meeting. The project partners are studying the possibility to held the meeting in either the Italian or Dutch pilot locations to also take the opportunity to do engagement workshop with local actors.

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