Community Energy Watch | Analyses – Recommendations

Just Transition in the Making
Last modified: October 2023
  • The Green Tank studies all available data, records trends, and, via concrete recommendations, continuously intervenes in the public debate on the development of the institution of Energy Communities and the latter’s contribution to the Just Transition of the lignite regions.

Policy Recommendations

By The Green Tank

A new program to support Energy Communities established by citizens and small and medium enterprises in the lignite areas, to be financed from the resources of the Just Development Transition Program 2021 – 2027, should be launched immediately to meet increased interest and needs. Emphasis should be placed on subsidizing hybrid photovoltaic & storage systems for self-production projects by Energy Communities set up by citizens along the lines of the call already issued for municipalities and related entities.

The national resources for the Just Transition (auctioning of CO2 emission allowances) should be utilized to strengthen Energy Communities in lignite areas through the issuance of an immediate call for proposals.

Entities that have proven difficulties in accessing bank loans or other financial resources (such as Energy Communities set up by citizens; small and medium-sized enterprises; farmers; and local authorities) should be given priority in obtaining funding through the financial incentives and support measures for Energy Communities stipulated in the new legislation (EU funds, Recovery and Resilience Program, National Development Program to meet the cost of installation of photovoltaic and storage systems for the implementation of virtual net-metering).

A development fund (or an intermediary body) should be set up specifically for Energy Communities, in order to facilitate access to loans, provide guarantees, cover the costs of participating in competitive procedures, and subsidize the costs of projects’ preliminary phases.

The grid should be upgraded and expanded to allow the development of energy community projects; sufficient “electrical space”, as well as a suitable -in terms of size- land area should be reserved for the installation of projects by energy communities -in particular those set up by citizens, local small businesses and local authorities- in the Lignite phase-out Zones.

The 2 GW grid space provided by the new legislation for self-production projects -and any future extension of it- should be distributed equally among the different categories of self-consumers (citizens and households; small and medium-sized enterprises; local authorities; farmers; legal entities under public and private law), with priority given to households and citizens aiming to meet their own needs either individually or collectively through Energy Communities.

The High Voltage Grid should not only accommodate large company projects; priority connection should be guaranteed for virtual net-metering projects by Energy Communities involving citizens.

The National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) that is currently under review should set specific quantitative targets for Energy Communities.

It is essential to enhance citizen participation in large-scale RES projects implemented in lignite areas by large companies such as the Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC); this could be achieved by instituting share ownership and reserving part of the shares to be purchased by Energy Communities.

A special framework for conducting competitive procedures for RES projects should be introduced, involving only Energy Communities and, thus, ensuring a level playing field.

An information hub for energy communities should be launched by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, aimed to strengthen the institution through the collection and publication of data on Energy Communities and the formulation of recommendations (indicatively, regarding support schemes, business models, institutional changes, etc.), as well as to provide direct information on all relevant institutional developments and to address any issues that arise.