SocialRES is one of four research projects that were funded under the same H2020 call seeking for research on social innovation in the energy sector. In April 2022, SocialRES joined together with the other projects – SONNET, COMETS and NEWCOMERS – to host the hybrid conference “Putting people at the heart of energy transitions” in Bruxelles and Antwerp. On this occasion, the projects jointly published this policy brief. It synthesizes the projects’ main findings, outlines the varying methodologies applied and contains key policy recommendations derived from the provided research. The four projects have produced a wide range of research over time. This has resulted in a wealth of knowledge on social innovation in the energy sector (SIE) for policy makers at all levels of government.
The policy brief outlines how SIE can be defined, and shows how they potentially and actually support and accelerate sustainable energy transitions in Europe in many ways. Moreover, it shows that while people in Europe are generally interested in participating in the energy transition through social innovations, many are hindered from engagement by a lack of awareness of SIE and their potential benefits or by institutional contexts that are not beneficial for SIE development. The policy brief synthesizes which policy principles have shown to be beneficial of SIE development in the past and how policies can support SIE now and in the future.