The German Energy Agency (dena) has launched the Future Energy Lab on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Under its umbrella, it offers both a virtual and a physical location for the energy and digital industries to jointly test digital future technologies for the energy transition. In this context, dena has awarded the sub-project "Use of Digital Technologies in Energy Communities". The aim of the research project is to demonstrate the potential of the use of innovative digital technologies (e.g. intelligent data analysis, smart contracts, blockchain, etc.) for energy communities, to support their application and to present opportunities that arise for future business models.

The project comprised an EU-wide analysis of the environment and a survey of energy communities on the use of digital technologies. First, a compact overview of the energy communities in the EU was given and legal forms, business models, actors and digital technologies that are used to implement energy communities were presented. For an in-depth analysis, three European countries with a technological role model function were selected and the further development potentials of energy communities through digital technologies with a view to business models of the future and the role of energy communities in the emerging energy markets of the EU countries considered were worked out. Finally, an EU-wide survey among decision-makers of energy communities was designed and evaluated accordingly.