The transition to climate neutrality cannot be achieved through technology and markets alone. The participation of citizens and local communities is crucial for this transition to take place in an efficient and fair way, and to ensure that everyone shares its economic, environmental and social benefits equally.Energy communities are a collaborative model constituting the perfect vessel that allows the direct involvement of citizens and local communities in the management of energy.
At the same time, energy communities can have a strong economic, environmental and social impact. But for this to happen, their cooperative principles must be respected, and institutional actors must acknowledge and respect their special characteristics in order to help create the right environment for their development.This report aims to present the impact of energy communities at a time when citizen participation in the energy transition and energy democracy emerge as particularly important conditions in order to shield societies against the current energy crisis, as well as against similar crises in the future. The report aims to inspire and inform citizens, the members of the energy communities themselves, government institutions (at a local, regional and national level), academic institutions, organizations, businesses and civil society organizations, so as to deepen their understanding of the special characteristics of energy communities and take initiative in creating and supporting them.
The writing of the report was based on the knowledge accumulated through the “Mapping the social impact of energy communities” project (European Federation of Citizen Energy Cooperatives REScoop.eu, ELECTRA Energy cooperative, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Thessaloniki Office, Greece).
Table of contents
What are energy communities and what do they do? 8
The impact of energy communities 11
Best practice examples 19
Concluding remarks 21