There is no transposition draft that has yet been released publicly, so we have evaluated the existing legislation on energy communities (Law 4513/2018). While the latter has good elements, it was elaborated before the adoption of the EU definitions, so it is not fully compliant with them. This Law established a new type of civil cooperative, the ‘energy community’, which incorporates a lot of the elements included in the EU definitions, such as the open and voluntary membership, the democratic governance and effective control, the requirement of proximity and more. Although this is a good piece of legislation providing novel interpretations on specific issues such as insularity, energy poverty and special care to municipalities and local authorities, the definition of energy communities was broad enough and caused a phenomenon of hijacking. As such, a lot of energy communities were developed by private investors and not citizens, in order to take advantage of the incentives provided for them. Some of the problems that the energy communities face at the moment in Greece (e.g. the fact that collective self-consumption via virtual net metering may be performed by community members only when having the same electricity supplier and so on) are expected to be dealt with the transposition process, which is still in progress.
Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition
- open and voluntary membership: it is open to natural persons that have full capacity of performing legal acts as well as legal persons governed by private and public law. The only local authorities that can participate are municipalities or their enterprises that are located in the region where the community is based and regional authorities of the region in which the headquarters of the EC are located.
- requirement of proximity: at least 51% of the members must be related to the place of the headquarters of the EC. The natural persons should have full or bare ownership or usufruct of a property located within the region of the seat of the EC or be registered as citizens of the municipality of this region, while the legal entities should have their seat within the region of the headquarters of the EC.
- democratic governance and effective control: the minimum number of members that can take part in a community is five, if the members are legal entities governed by public law other than local authorities or legal entities under private law or natural persons, or three, if the members are legal entities governed by public or private law or natural persons, of which at least two are local authorities. In case the members are only municipalities of small islands, two members can develop an EC. Moreover, each member can have maximum a 20% share in the civil cooperative, with the exemption of municipalities of small islands, which can have maximum a 50% share and the municipalities and regions in general that can have up to 40% share. However, as article 3(2) of the L. 4513/2018 stresses, each member of the EC can participate in the General Assembly with a single vote, irrespective of the shares it holds (autonomy).
- primary purpose of which is to provide environmental, economic or social community benefits for its shareholders or members or for the local areas where it operates, rather than financial profits: Article 6 of the L. 4513/2018 specifies that there are 2 types of ECs with different financial aims, the ones with profitable and the ones with non-profitable character. In the latter, the profits of each financial year cannot be distributed to its members, but should be kept to fulfil its purposes. This characteristic reveals their social orientation. Exceptionally, in ECs where only municipalities or regional authorities participate or in ECs developed in small islands, which have the municipality or regional authority of the seat of the energy community as a member, part or all of the surplus may be distributed for local utility actions related to the adequacy and supply of raw materials, fuel and water. On the contrary, paragraph 4 introduces the ECs with a profitable character. More specifically, in ECs that consist of at least 15 members or 10 for ECs developed in small islands and 50% plus one of them are natural persons, the surplus of each financial year can be distributed to them, only after keeping 10% for the regular reserve.
- Activities: The activities that an EC can undertake include the ones provided for RECs and CECs, but also additional ones, such as energy innovation, energy poverty reduction and promoting energy sustainability.
Level of detail in the elaboration of principles contained in EU criteria
There is a lot of elaboration and detail on what each term means. See the text above.
Clearly defined purpose
There is a clearly defined purpose for the ECs in Greece, which also touches upon the alleviation of energy poverty. The purpose of the EC is to enhance the innovation in the energy sector, tackle energy poverty and promote energy sustainability, production, storage, self-consumption, energy distribution and supply of energy, enhance energy self-sufficiency and security in island municipalities, and improve energy efficiency in end use at local and regional level, through the activity in the sectors of RES and CHP (Combined Heat and Power), the rational use of energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, demand and production management, distribution and energy supply.
ICA cooperative governance principles reflected
Yes, the ICA principles are reflected in the Greek Law. There is open and voluntary membership, democratic Member Control, member Economic Participation, Autonomy and Independence, Cooperation among Cooperatives (the Law provides for the possibility to establish Unions and Federations of energy communities) and concern for Community. Education, Training, and Information is also taken into consideration, as it is stated that for the purpose of accomplishing their activities, the may be engaged with the attraction of funds, preparation of exploitation studies of RES or SITHYA, information, training and awareness at local and regional level on energy sustainability issues and actions to support vulnerable consumers and address the energy poverty.
Legal entities allowed
Law 4513/2018 sets up a new type of civil cooperative ( cooperatives are regulated by the Law 1667/1986) of exclusive purpose, the “Energy Community”, aiming at promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy in the energy sector.
Citizen participation is ensured
A minimum number of participants is required for the establishment of an energy community, depending on the nature of the participants and on whether the community is "profit-oriented" or not (Article 6(4) of the Law 4513/2018).
Designated authority to oversee
Energy communities should notify their creation, dissolution, change in letters of association and members list to the General Commercial Registry. So there is a registry for energy communities, but no designated authority to oversee and supervise.
Number of definitions
1 – energy community. There is no differentiation between RECs and CECs, only non-profit and for-profit energy communities are distinguished. The existing definition has elements from both RECs and CECs. It is both for RES and non-RES, electricity and gas, it incorporates the requirement of locality, but also allows ECs to manage the grid.
Coherency between both definitions