Active citizen participation: a prerequisite for a just energy transition

Ioanna Theodosiou, policy officer at The Green Tank, contributed to OIKOTOPIA’s special digital issue on energy with the article titled “Active citizen participation: a prerequisite for a just energy transition”.

Having as point of departure the demand for energy democracy which aims to formulate an energy production model free of fossil fuels and based on the social and democratic control of the energy sector, Ioanna Theodosiou highlighted the importance of energy communities in the transition towards a just, participatory and climate neutral future.

In this context, presenting the developments at the European level regarding energy communities and the institutional framework in Greece, she focused on the development of energy communities in the lignite regions of Greece and how they can be a lever for energy democracy.

Despite the institutional obstacles and shortcomings, she provided data showing a significant increase in the number of energy communities, a trend that is also reflected in their inclusion  in the planning for the post-lignite period, and in particular in the Territorial Just Transition Development Plans and the Just Transition Development Programme 2021-2027, submitted for approval to the European Commission.

The article concludes with recommendations on strengthening energy communities in Greece, in particular through the following means:

– Priority on financing, licensing and grid access for non-for-profit energy communities to cover their own energy needs.

– Subsidies for the installation costs of self-production, heating, storage and energy saving projects in non-for-profit community energy projects.

– Upgrading the grid and reserving sufficient electrical space for energy community connections.-Creation of a development fund (or intermediary body) for energy communities.

– Institutional changes with the immediate integration of the Directives on renewables and on common rules for domestic electricity market.

– Setting ambitious targets for energy communities in the revision of the National Energy and Climate Plan.

– Establishment of specific competitive procedure for renewable energy projects exclusively for energy communities.

The article was published in OIKOTOPIA’s website, as part of the special issue on energy, on March 17, 2022. It is available here in Greek.