What are Energy Communities?
Energy Communities (EnComs) are civil cooperatives that are active in the energy sector, with a particular interest in Renewable Energy Sources (RES). Citizens can use this tool to produce clean energy collectively and promote energy democracy, and, therefore, have an active role in the energy transition.
Energy Community Projects
To date, Energy Community projects are mainly:
(a) self-production projects aimed at meeting the energy needs of members (virtual net-metering projects) and (b) commercial RES projects, which generate profits for community members through market participation.
In November 2022, there are 1,406 active Energy Communities nationwide. Thus, we note a 36% increase compared to November 2021 (1,036 active EnComs) and a 12% increase compared to May 2022 (1,258 active EnComs).
Most connected RES projects by energy communities (243.6 MW) are located in Central Macedonia. Thessaly (198.9 MW) comes in second place -even though it ranks fifth with regard to the number of energy communities- and is followed by Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (104.7 MW), Central Greece (67.2 MW) and Western Macedonia (63 MW); the latter rank, respectively, sixth, second and third in terms of the number of energy communities.
Local communities’ interest in establishing EnComs does not match their capability to implement projects, as the Regions with the highest installed capacity by Enom projects do not coincide with those with the highest number of energy communities.
Commercial projects by Energy Communities
- In November 2022, the installed capacity of Energy Community RES projects recorded nationwide amounts to 799.54 MW, which corresponds to 1,124 projects, constitutes 14% of RES projects’ total installed capacity, and denotes a 71.4% increase in installed capacity compared to November 2021 (466.5 MW).
9% increase in the number of requests submitted by EnCom projects (Nov 2021 – Nov 2022).
10.2% increase in requested capacity by EnCom projects (Nov 2021 – Nov 2022).
In November 2022, 46.6% of requests have been rejected by the HEDNO due to inability to connect.
Out of the total capacity requested by energy communities for RES projects, 17.1% is electrified (799.54 MW).
Self – production by Energy Communities
- In November 2022, the records show 147 requests regarding virtual net-metering projects by Energy Communities.
- The highest demand for such projects is observed in the Region of Western Greece (33 requests), which, up until then, had not received any requests for virtual net-metering projects by energy communities. Western Macedonia ranks second with 31 requests, followed by Central Macedonia with 20 requests.
425% increase in connection requests for virtual net-metering projects by Ecoms nationwide (Nov 2021 – Nov 2022).
The projects’ total requested capacity (Nov 2022) amounts to 87 MW.
8 projects have been electrified with a capacity of merely 3.17 MW, which represents 3.6% of the total capacity requested by EComs.
49% of Ecoms’ virtual net-metering project requests for connection (72 out of a total of 147) have been rejected by the HEDNO due to inability to connect and 12.2% have been cancelled (18 requests).
Development of self-production
- The recent energy crisis motivated citizens, businesses and local communities to use RES in order to meet their energy needs, either through self-production at the individual level (net-metering – virtual net-metering) or through collective self-production (virtual net-metering by Energy Communities).
- A 62.5% increase was noted in the number of virtual net-metering project requests overall, namely, by Energy Communities and other entities (such as farmers, legal entities, etc.). Over the period November 2021 – November 2022, requests rose from 499 to 811, while capacity increased by 140.3% (from 90.78 MW to 218.18 MW).
- Even higher was the upsurge in requests for self-production through the mechanism of net-metering, namely, self-production of electricity by individual citizens and businesses. Specifically, the number of requests for such projects and the requested capacity increased, respectively, by 157% and 199.5% over the past year (Nov 2021 – Nov 2022).
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