Building Energy Communities in Greece, 2019
The publishing of the “Building Energy Communities in Greece” guidebook coincides with a time when the community energy movement in Greece appears to be on the rise, especially after the adoption of Law 4513, in January 2018. The new legal framework aspires to combine Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and the energy sector and introduces a new type of civil cooperative of exclusive purpose, the Energy Community (EC). ECs constitute an important tool for achieving fair energy transition in the country, since renewable energy and energy savings offer, as well as, require a geographic dispersion of investments and the involvement of the many, in order for the proper exploitation of the former. ECs are confronted with multiple challenges. On the one hand, as civil cooperatives of multiple stakeholders falling under the Social and Solidarity Economy, they are expected to overcome a series of difficulties, including the complexity of the SSE institutional framework, the lack of adequate know-how and information regarding social security, accounting and tax-related issues both among market institutions as well as government agencies, including a negative legacy of the cooperative movement in Greece. On the other hand, ECs are also expected to render themselves active and sustainable in a highly competitive environment, i.e. the energy market, which currently is under transformation anyway. However, both at a European and national policy level, the basic framework has been laid out and the role of citizens in the future of energy is undoubtedly quintessential. Therefore, as cooperatives, energy communities are burdened as by their cooperative principles, to train and build the capacity of their members in order for them to be able to assume multiple roles such as producer-consumer, supplier, co-owner. This guide aims to clarify the framework in which ECs operate, their role in a fair energy transition while providing both theoretical and practical information for their development.