Energy communities in a new trajectory

Since 2018, energy communities have taken a central role in the Greece’s energy transition as a tool to enhance citizen participation. The newspaper insert included in the Sunday Edition of “Avgi tis Kyriakis”, Ioanna Theodosiou records their evolution since then, as well as the changes brought by the recent revision of the institutional framework.

Drawing on The Green Tank’s recent review of energy communities in Greece and its ignite areas, the op-ed states that the country currently counts 1,677 energy communities with a total capacity of more than 1 GW. Although at first they developed as a tool for profit, today more and more citizens are seeking to participate in energy communities to meet their own needs.

As the article points out, the period of the energy crisis played a key role in the development of energy communities, bringing a rapid increase in the self-production by energy communities, citizens and other entities. The same is noted for applications for self-production projects by energy communities. At the same time, the new institutional framework, supports the strengthening of self-production through energy communities by allocating 2 GW of electric space for self-production projects and foresees public funding for them.

Priorities for the next period should include equal distribution of available grid space, use of storage technologies and the participation of citizens in large-scale renewable energy projects by instituting share ownership. Finally, Ioanna Theodosiou mentions setting of concrete and ambitious quantitative targets for energy communities as a crucial requirement for Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). Moreover, provisions are needed to ensure that energy communities can participate in energy efficiency projects for which funding must also become available.

The special edition “Energy transition: Questions, challenges and alternatives” which includes the op-ed by Ioanna Theodosiou was published in Avgi – Sunday Edition on 26 November 2023.

For more information on energy communities in Greece and its lignite regions based on the latest available data check The Green Tank’s Community Energy Watch.