Renewables

Greece ranks first in Europe in number of citizen energy communities

Greece ranks first in Europe in number of citizen energy communities

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Published

March 29, 2024

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Published:

March 29, 2024

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Greece held the first place in the number of citizen energy communities in 2022, according to a report by the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER).

Specifically, the country had 884 such energy communities in 2022 while the Netherlands was second with 705 and Austria third with 200. Belgium, Italy and Spain stood lower with 66, 39 and 20, respectively, while other countries were at zero, with the exception of Slovenia, which had two.

There was no official data for Germany, although the German Energy Agency (dena) estimated their number at over 1,700 back in 2022. The lack of citizen energy communities in member states such as France is attributed to an incomplete legal framework.

Greece ranks number one in Europe in energy communities

In Greece, 1,664 energy community projects were completed in recent years

It should be noted that, according to the European Union’s Electricity Directive, member states must enable citizens to participate in energy communities. The goal is to facilitate joint investments in renewable energy projects and drive down energy costs.

There are 511 projects in Greece with connection terms and under construction

As for Greece, Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Alexandra Sdoukou said recently in Parliament that 1.664 projects by 1,462 energy communities have been put into operation in the last five years. Along with another 300 projects for self-consumption, the number exceeds 1,700 and the total installed capacity surpasses 1 GW. Another 511 projects have received connection terms and are under construction, she added.

The numbers include Citizen Energy Communities (CECs) and Renewable Energy Communities (RECs). CECs can operate on a national scale and have the flexibility to employ both fossil fuel– and renewables-based technologies, but solely for electricity production. RECs are local and utilize technology for energy production only from renewable sources, encompassing electricity, gas and heat. Their range of activities is narrower.

The New Democracy government has been blamed for not supporting energy communities and energy democracy in general, in favor of large renewable investors. Early on in its tenure, it passed a law that made it more difficult to form communities. In the past, energy communities were “highjacked” by larger investors as vehicles to complete their commercial projects, withholding space in the grid from actual citizens and small businesses. According to the latest data, it appears that interest is more than enough to drive new projects despite the restriction.

According to members of energy communities in Greece, the cost of participation in a photovoltaic project of under 1 MW can be as low as EUR 1,000. It guarantees a personal production quota of about 2 MWh per year over a 20-year period. It is removed from the investor’s bills via the net metering mechanism.

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