The financing of energy communities is explicitly mentioned in two national Operational Programmes (Environment and climate change OP; Just Transition development OP) and four regional operational programmes (Epirus OP; Ionian islands OP; Western Greece OP; Peloponnese OP).
General: allocation, definition, transposition
Specific allocation for energy communities
The majority of OPs mention energy communities as separate targets, but the funding allocation falls within broader budget for energy efficiency, RES penetration and energy poverty.
On the 27/09/2023 a call was launched under the Just Transition Operational Program, which earmarks € 41.795.000 for Municipal energy communities to create solar collective self consumption projects, and provide free/cheap electricity to energy poor households to tackle energy poverty. All stages of project development are eligible for finance up to 80% of total costs, and projects have to be at least 0.3MWp in minimum capacity.
Definition of energy communities in line with EU legislation
Under the Just Transition Operational Program funding call launched in 27/09/2023, Energy Communities of law (4513/2018), and Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities of Law (5037/2023) are eligible beneficiaries. These legal forms largely align with the EU definitions of energy communities, with the exception of the Citizen Energy Communities, which can be formed exclusively by Businesses.
Proportionality of share of total fund allocated to energy communities
The 27/09/2023 call launched under the Just Transition Operational Program earmarks € 41.795.000 for Municipal energy communities. This is a sufficient amount of money to cover the energy needs of thousands of households.
Availability of tailored financing tools
The 27/09/2023 call launched under the Just Transition Operational Program envisions only non-repayable grants covering 80% of project development costs. Additional tools, such as loans, or guarantees are not currently foreseen.
Link to a wider scope of activities and objectives
Link between energy communities, building renovation and energy efficiency
The Operational Programme Just Development Transition (Priority 2: Energy transition - climate neutrality) includes actions on energy efficiency, clean energy and smart energy for which energy communities in lignite regions are among the target groups. Also individuals and households can benefit from these funds. Therefore, the OP recognises the potential of both energy communities and citizens in the field of renovation.
Recognition of energy communities under multiple objectives
In both national Operational Programmes (Just Transition- Environment & Climate Change) energy communities are recognised under the objective of promoting renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, as well as tackling energy poverty.
The 27/09/2023 call launched under the Just Transition Operational Program explicitly links energy communities with 'energy autonomy', 'environmental sustainability', 'economic resilience', and 'social inclusion'.
Transparency and inclusiveness
Holistic strategy to provide financing across different levels of project development
There is no holistic strategy in place to provide financing across different levels of project development (i.e., facilitating grid access, one stop shops, awareness raising & capacity building, pilot financing, administrative, business model and legal advice). Instead the Greek Operational Programmes will only support the project investment stage.
Transparency of the design and communication of the schemes and measures
The design and communication of the Greek Operational Programmes provided some opportunities for feedback by civil society.
Selection criteria and the prioritisation of various social components
The selection criteria of the Just Transition Operational Program published on 27/09/2023 are largely focusing on technical and economical elements of the project, with a reference to 'contribution to local development and the creation of local jobs'. Therefore, the social element is not strongly pronounced. It should be noted however, that the call itself is addressed to tackling energy poverty, by supporting energy poor households.
Decentralised tender process
The funding programs for energy communities under the Greek Operational Programmes are managed in a centralised manner.
Existence of procedures to facilitate the participation of energy communities in open calls
There are no relevant procedures in place (e.g., capacity building workshops/ working with network and intermediary organisations) to facilitate the participation of energy communities in accessing available public funds.
Stability and predictability of the programme through time
The program is expected to be stable, however not enough information is available at this stage.