Energy Communities as a tool for gender equality in the Just Transition

Ioanna Theodosiou participated in the latest episode of the podcast series by Women on Top, titled “But what does equality have to do with the climate crisis?”. The focus of the discussion was on the relationship between gender and the climate crisis, women’s participation in energy communities and decision-making on environmental issues, as well as the role they can play in building a sustainable and inclusive economy.

Specifically, commenting on the limited participation of women in energy communities in Greece, Ioanna Theodosiou argued that this picture can be reversed, and energy communities can be a tool for the empowerment of women in energy and environmental issues. One promising example to this direction is the Greek energy community WEnCoop, which has been set up by women entrepreneurs and is the only energy community established exclusively by women in Greece. She also stressed that organisations in the cooperative movement, such as Cooperatives Europe and RESCoop, bring to the fore the issue of gender equality in energy and call on their members to take action.

Mapping the steps required to create an energy community, Ioanna Theodosiou underlined that the first and most crucial step is the creation of the team and the clarity of objectives. From there on, the existing legal framework favors the creation of an energy community either to cover own energy needs or to sell energy on the market.

Commenting on other tools that could enhance women’s participation in decision-making on energy issues, she stressed that there are currently several tools and structures that could promote open and participatory processes in decision-making and project implementation, but a change of perspective is needed in order to make the best use of them and enhance inclusion and participation. The new energy model which is based on renewable energy sources should rely on citizen participation, eliminating social inequalities – including gender inequalities. This is the only way to achieve a truly just energy transition.

Other participants included:

Zefi Dimadama, Panteion University

Efi Koutsoureli, Quest Holdings

Giorgos Karapanagos, MSF – Greece

The podcast with Stella Kasdagli was broadcasted on Women on Top’s page on Spotify, on October 18, 2022.

You may listen to Ioanna Theodosiou’s contribution (in Greek) at The Green Tank’s Youtube channel.