W4RES Webinar n°4 on supporting energy communities and gender-just energy communities

On the 7th of September 2022, WECF presented the fourth webinar in a series of five for capacity building on gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in the renewable heating and cooling sector (RHC). This webinar gave insights and tools on how to make your energy community more gender-just. It was further complemented by the inspiring experiences of two speakers: Alice Corovessi (WEncoop) and Stefan Gsänger (WWEA).

Firstly, WECF introduced the concept of energy communities. We define an energy community as a wide range of collective energy actions (can be any project or initiative) involving citizens' participation in energy systems. Per definition and by the principles that energy communities are carrying (inclusivity, democracy and equal participation) they imply gender equality. However, they are still seen as a male activity and improvements are still needed. Priority is not always given to engaging more women and gender equality due to a lack of resources awareness and not understanding the need of it.

Thus, WECF presented the relevance and positive impacts of gender-just energy communities (less inequality, powering the energy transition, empowering society transformation as a whole). This section ended with tools for creating your own gender-just energy community. For example, gender analysis, active recruitment or gender-inclusive communication (see also W4RES Webinar n°3 - Gender-just communication in the RHC sector).

With the knowledge of what an energy community is, Alice Corovessi provided us with her experiences of the Greek Association of Women Entrepreneurs and WEnCoop. WEncoop is the first Energy Female Social Cooperative for women entrepreneurs and their businesses in Greece. She spoke about the challenges she encountered while creating WEncoop and how they overcame them. The purpose is for their members was to be able to operate in the energy sector, utilizing pure energy sources, reduce the cost of their business and increase their family income. One point that came out is that trainings are essential to unify a community with members with the same levels of awareness and skills.

Lastly, Stefan Gsänger spoke about the recent study conducted by World Wind Energy Association on how to engage more women in energy communities. Providing us with interesting figures about the challenges that females may face. Some interesting numbers were showing that this is not by lack of interest that women are not getting more engaged in energy communities but rather due to a lack of financial opportunities or a lack of information. Indeed, often ahead of the creation of the community women are lacking in male-dominated networks where discussions and the project arise!

Watch the recording of the webinar here: https://youtu.be/Qzd5h4p-Fps

We are looking back upon a very interesting and successful webinar and would like to thank everyone for participating. We are looking forward to welcoming you for our last webinar on how to empower women in the RHC sector.

Register for our next webinar on ‘How to empower women in the RHC sector: what concrete actions are available?” on the 21st of September 2022, 10.00-11.30 am CET, here.

Find below the full program:

N°1: Overcoming the invisible barrier: Gender-dimensions of the RHC sector - 31st May 2022, 10 am CET

N°2: Gender tool: Gender-self assessment & Gender action plan for RHC actors - 15th June 2022, 10 am CET

N°3: Gender tool: Gender-just communication - 5th July 2022, 10 am CET

N°4: Support energy communities and gender-just energy communities – 7th September 2022, 10 am CET

N°5: How to empower women in the RHC sector: what concrete actions are available21st September 2022, 10 am CET

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