P R E S S R E L E A S E
Almost twice as many self-production projects by energy communities, citizens and other entities have been connected to the grid (+94.5%, 337.7 MW) compared to November 2022. However, the lack of grid space and delays in mobilizing resources prevent the implementation of more projects. Positive developments include the limitation of the hijacking of the energy community institution and the reservation of grid space for self-production projects, both embedded in Greece’s new institutional framework as well as the first financing program for energy community projects by for municipalities in transition regions.
With the new institutional framework for energy communities in force since March 2023, The Green Tank’s review “Energy communities in Greece and its lignite areas #4” presents the latest developments based on the available data by the General Commercial Registry (GEMI), the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) and the Independent Electricity Transmission Operator (IPTO).
The main findings of the analysis can be summarized as follows:
- 1,677 active energy communities are recorded in Greece in October 2023, increased by 18.6% compared to November 2022. Of these, 9 were established under the new institutional framework (8 Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) and 1 Citizen Energy Community (CEC)) which, based on available data, have not submitted any project connection requests.
- The overall electrified capacity of commercial and self-production projects exceeded the 1GW milestone (1,071.7MW, +34.3% compared to November 2022). However, the electrified capacity of self-production projects by energy communities is much smaller than that of commercial projects – just 7.5 MW.
- The electrified capacity of self-production projects by energy communities, citizens and other entities has almost doubled in August 2023 (337.7 MW) compared to November 2022 (173.6 ΜW).
- Self-production projects of 1,349 MW are pending;they could be electrified, provided that they are given priority in the 2 GW grid space reserved for self-production projects under the new legislation (Law no. 5037/2023).
- More participation in energy communities for self-produced energy is claimed by citizens with an increase in the corresponding project connection requests of 292.5% compared to November 2022 across the country.
- 66.6% of pending requests by energy community projects (commercial and self-production) with a capacity of 1,346 MW have received a notification of inability to connect by HEDNO. Excluding these projects, there is a pending capacity of 631 MW, corresponding to 826 projects.
- The growth rate of the energy communities in the lignite region of Western Macedonia has decreased, reaching 293 in total (+12.3% compared to November 2022) but the region remains in second place nationwide behind the region of Central Macedonia. Significant delays in projects implementation bring the region to the top of the list of pending applications in terms of number and capacity (377.5 MW & 465 of pending projects).
- Change of dynamics in Arcadia with 44 active energy communities (+110% compared to November 2022). Of the 93 applications for energy communities projects, 24 are new and all of them are self-production projects with a capacity of 6.8 MW. However, both new energy communities and project connection requests are concentrated in Tripoli and not in the lignite area of Megalopolis.
A positive development is the priority given to self-production under the new legislative framework (Law 5037/2023), as 2 GW of grid space and public resources have been reserved for self-production projects and their implementation. The same law limits the possibility of distributing REC and CEC surpluses among members to 20% aiming at restricting the hijacking of the institution of energy communities for profit making.
At the same time, in September 2023, the first call for self-production projects for energy communities in transition regions was activated from the Just Development Transition Program 2021 – 2027, amounting to €41.795 million, of which €26.845 million are reserved for energy communities in lignite areas. However, the call excludes from the beneficiaries energy communities by citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“With a new legislation and the first program to finance self-production projects by energy communities of municipalities in transition regions, new prospects open up for energy communities in Greece. The immediate priority of the State should be to address the inadequacy of the grid and ensure the targeted allocation of additional resources to support self-production energy community projects by citizens and SMEs, in order to enhance their participation in the energy transition”, said Ioanna Theodosiou, Policy Officer at the Green Tank.
- Regions in transition included in the call “Supporting energy communities for the development of self-production actions” funded by the Just Development Transition Program 2021 – 2027 include the Region of Western Macedonia, the Regional Units of Arcadia and Messinia and the Regions of Crete, and North and South Aegean.
- You can read the full text of The Green Tank’s review “Energy communities in Greece and its lignite areas” here.
- You can see the evolution of energy communities by region, as well as all the latest institutional developments in The Green Tank’s Community Energy Watch.
- You can read the report titled “Supporting Citizen Energy Communities in the Lignite Areas Via a Combination of Photovoltaics and Battery Energy Storage Systems” which examines the potential of overcoming the barrier of grid space shortage in order to meet the electricity needs of residential consumers living in lignite areas through energy communities’ renewable projects here.