In her contribution to the webinar “Navigating the just transition: role of energy communities”, organized by CEE Bankwatch, Ioanna Theodosiou provided a short overview of the course of energy communities (EnCom) in Greece and its lignite regions and their role in Just Transition, offering recommendations that might be useful also for other coal regions across Europe.
Thriving in a transition period for the energy sector, energy communities set the basis for a decentralized energy model based on renewables, the active participation of local communities in coal regions, and access to funds and benefits dedicated to the Just Transition. As Ioanna Theodosiou stressed, these features ensure energy democracy, and maintain social cohesion. However, as she noted, energy communities need a supportive and enabling legal framework that will enhance their role in the Just Transition process.
On this note, she outlined the key points of the new legislative framework in Greece, and challenges that remain and should become priority in the community energy policy. Specifically, she made the following recommendations:
- It is important to make sure that RES EnCom investments are included in the Territorial Just Transition Plans.
- Available resources, EU and national, should be activated to support community energy projects and grid upgrades. Those funds should focus on (a) subsidies for the installation costs of EnCom projects to meet own electricity needs (e.g. RES, energy efficiency, heating, storage etc), (b) the creation of a Development Fund for EnComs.
- Priority for grid connection should be given to self – production projects by EnComs with strong citizen participation to safeguard that the available grid will not be taken over by by large companies and their energy communities leaving no space for citizens EnComs .
- An ambitious policy for community energy is needed and it should be reflected in the ongoing revision of Greece’s NECP .
- Incentives for cooperation of large RES companies with Energy Communities through shareholding should be provided.
- And finally, energy communities should be protected from unfair competitive processes.
The webinar was organized by CEE Bankwatch and it was held on Monday May 29, 2023.
Other participants included Chris Vrettos, REScoop, and Pouyan Maleki, Ecorys
The discussion was moderated by Joanna Jakubowska, Just Transition Policy Officer, CEE Bankwatch
The full video of the webinar is available at CEE Bankwatch’s YouTube channel.
The contribution by Ioanna Theodosiou is also available at our YouTube channel (in English):