COMETS (Collective Action Models for the Energy Transition and Social Innovation) is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the EU. The project aims to fill knowledge gaps on citizen engagement in the energy transition to renewables by investigating and quantifying the aggregate contribution of collective action initiatives (CAIs) in the energy sector at both national and European levels.
It is necessary to ensure that citizens are at the centre of this fundamental transformation, empowering their potential to participate. Social innovation is a primary way to tap into this potential, while CAIs, a social innovation in itself, are a primary way to mobilize people and ensure acceptance and participation in the transition process. However, both social innovation and CAIs lack adequate scientific understanding.
The overall objective of COMETS is to investigate CAIs as the main driver of social innovation in the energy sector. The role of citizen-led CAIs (e.g. energy communities, cooperatives, purchasing groups, etc.) and their contribution to the energy transition has not been quantified at an aggregate level, nor has their potential contribution been estimated or understood in sufficient depth.
Two specific targets follow the general objective:
1) To build a robust knowledge base on social innovation processes in the energy transition as implemented by CAIs. COMETS will generate and test new knowledge on the technical, institutional, economic, social and cultural factors that can facilitate or hinder the sustained activities of CAIs.
2) To provide tools and guidelines to improve the development and scaling up of CAI activities. The project will provide new tools for assessing the performance of CAIs and provide aggregated estimates of their current and potential contribution to the energy transition.