Rising stars of the Energy Union? Energy Prosumers in Europe

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Experts from politics and civil society gathered at the public hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee to discuss the current situation of prosumers in the EU and the opportunities and challenges that they are currently facing.

"Consumers, households and businesses will play an important role in the Energy Market by becoming consumers and producers at the same time", said in his keynote speech Tomasz Husak, Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

The President of the TEN Section of the EESC Pierre Jean Coulon emphasized the fact that the European Economic and Social Committee has made a number of proposals to ensure the establishment of an European dialogue on energy. "We are seeing a real revolution in energy transition but it will be successful only if civil society is involved in the process."

Representatives from stakeholders and cooperatives pointed out that local municipalities and governments need to put consistent policies in place to stimulate the uptake of prosumerism. "Technologies are available but consumers refrain from them because they are afraid that the government will withdraw funding", said Jörg Mühlenhoff from the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). "We have to make sure there is a legal framework – there is nothing worse than the stop-and- go policy. You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game", added Michel Lebrun, Member of the Committee of the Regions.

The social dimension of the energy debate and energy poverty were also discussed during the public hearing.

The outcomes of the public hearing will contribute to the EESC's opinion on Prosumer Energy and Prosumer Power Cooperatives (Rapporteur: Janusz Pietkiewicz)