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Energy Communities Repository
News article12 January 20242 min read

Energy Communities in Europe Boosted by Support

Strovolos Community Energy

Over the last two years, the European Commission’s Energy Community Repository has been supporting energy communities through a range of technical assistance activities. This article delves into a retrospective examination of the support extended throughout these two years.

Direct technical assistance: National experts unlocked the potential of 23 communities.

The technical assistance focused on countries where there was the greatest need for support, for example, in countries where the legislative framework was not optimal or sufficiently developed to fully support the emergence of energy communities. 23 communities from 11 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain) benefitted from between 7 to 10 days of direct technical assistance from national experts.

The main needs of energy communities included:

  • Clarification of the legal aspects of the creation of energy communities and the steps to set up successfully;
  • Technical and financial analysis to assess the best project options for the community. Projects ranged from solar PV, microgrids to energy efficiency to hydro to biomass district heating;
  • Mentor support to overcome challenges faced by communities (such as issues with the DSO or chamber of commerce);
  • Development of a community energy roadmap based on local needs and specificities.
46 communities connected with their peers through « twinning » sessions:

In addition to the direct technical assistance, 16 ‘twinning’ sessions were organized and 46 communities from 9 countries (Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain) took part in these sessions. Thanks to this programme, the participants had the opportunity to learn and ask questions directly to national experts and other communities who understood the legal and regulatory frameworks and opportunities in their country.

Capacity workshops: 119 communities are ready to take a step further.

To boost understanding and further support energy communities in the focus countries, 13 capacity workshops were held, attended by 390 people from 119 existing or emerging energy communities. A survey after the workshops shows that 92-97% of participants plan to implement projects based on the examples shared in the workshops. 100% of survey participants found that the opportunity for peer-to-peer exchange was invaluable.

National experts are optimistic about the future of energy communities

In many cases, the national experts, some of whom are energy communities themselves, went above and beyond to ensure the communities received the support they needed.

The Croatian expert, Josip Biber from ZEZ, highlighted the growing interest in community energy projects: ‘The number of participants that came to the workshop shows there is a real appetite and interest for setting up community energy projects and many of the communities are staying in touch with each other to continue peer-to-peer exchanges and support.

The national expert from Greece, Effie Korma from CRES energy agency was also enthusiastic about the capacity building workshops, underling that ‘There was great participation in the capacity building workshop from all over Greece, fruitful dialogue and understanding of the problems faced by the energy communities in the country. The workshop gave the opportunity to the participants to expand their cooperation network.’

The national expert from Romania, Camelia Sava from Cooperativa de Energie, also recognised the importance of such initiatives, but also mentioned that there is a need for more: ‘The opportunity to organise capacity building activities in Romania was significant for us, as it allows us to encourage the formation of more local energy communities, and this program has facilitated our collaboration in this regard. There is a strong need for more, ideally longer and more in-depth support for energy communities now to enable them to develop and implement their projects.’

Know more about technical assistance


Publication date
12 January 2024