ISABEL was all about promoting, supporting and developing community biogas in Europe. The project was set on providing all the framework conditions for biogas communities to shape, develop and thrive. It worked on all angles to pave the way for the transition from traditional supply chains to community ownership and take full advantage of the ample societal benefits of local community-driven biogas systems, fuelled and inspired by Social Innovation principles. To realize this vision ISABEL employed its “5E strategy” with the following objectives:
- Educate: ISABEL re-positioned biogas energy by shifting the attention on its societal dimensions and re-branding it as a “public good”;
- Engage: ISABEL enabled the development of regional Biogas Communities based on existing communities and socially-oriented local organisations and associations and embarked on an awareness and engagement campaign to grow the Communities;
- Empower: ISABEL supported and stimulated regional biogas consumption and production initiatives through processes of Social Innovation and Public Participation. ISABEL deployed a bouquet consisting of digital tools, expert knowledge, and participatory processes providing to Communities with all the necessary support to materialize and govern their own local sustainable Biogas production and consumption system.
- Evaluate: ISABEL evaluated the impact and outcomes of the local initiatives, drafting lessons and guidelines with a view to improving policies and creating a favourable environment that would sustain the biogas energy community.
- Expand: ISABEL used gathered experience, evidence-based success stories and best practices, communicated them through its networks across Europe and provided support for their replication in other areas.
ISABEL applied its strategy to three regions that were in different phases of maturity and development, providing a complementary synthesis of evidence:
- Baden-Württemberg – Lake Constance Bioenergy Region (Germany),
Yorkshire and The Humber (United Kingdom), and Central and Eastern Macedonia & Thrace (Greece).