The Energy Communities in the Just Transition Platform

Ioanna Theodosiou participated in a session of the Just Transition Platform, organized by the European Commission, dedicated on the topic of energy communities, with a presentation on the developments in the lignite areas of Greece.

The session was titled “Energy communities as an opportunity for regions in transition” and was moderated by Adela Tesarova, Head of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Consumer, Local Initiatives, JustTransition and Carlo Della Libera from the Coal Regions in Transition Platform ( CRiT).

Representatives of energy communities across Europe who presented their projects and the challenges they face also participated in the session. Specifically Pedro Barata, from the community of Coopérnico in Portugal, Tomi Medved, representing the COMPILE programme, where he presented the energy communities of Luče in Slovenia and Križevci in Croatia, Ignacio Navarro Pérez de Guzman from the Hyperion Community in Greece and Adrian Munteanu, from the Cooperativa de Energie community in Romania made presentations. This was followed by a presentation of funding opportunities for energy community projects in lignite regions by Martin Eibl, of the European Commission Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and the Environment (CINEA).

In her presentation, Ioanna Theodosiou, described the evolution of energy communities in the lignite regions of Greece from 2018 until today. She mentioned that 194 energy communities have been established in the lignite areas and 13 of them are already operating projects with a capacity of 25.9MW. She pointed out that their dynamic is even greater as the pending requests for connection of RES and CHP projects from energy communities constitute 30.5% of the total requested power from RES in the low and medium voltage in the lignite regions. She also noted that the energy communities for profit are the predominant ones in lignite regions, as only 12 of the 176 energy communities in Western Macedonia are of public benefit, while in Arcadia the only energy community with public benefit characteristics is the one established by the Region of Peloponnese.

After presenting the challenges the further development of energy communities faces, she presented policy proposals to enhance them, especially the public benefit ones, focusing on the need to finance part of the cost of installation, a stable and favorable institutional framework, the upgrading and development of grids, and the protection of energy communities from unfair competition in the electricity market.

The recording of the session that took place online on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 can be found on the website of the Just Transition Platform and you can watch it (in English)  here.