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Power to the People

Legal Frameworks of Community Energy in Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Serbia

In the backdrop of numerous reports on Energy Systems, including those published by the major organisations, f.e. the International Energy Agency and, most recently, the UNFCCC through its Global Stocktake Technical Report, it is compulsory to cease investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure in order to remain in the 1,5C target of the Paris Agreement. As the global need for phasing out of fossil fuels urges, the question of transition crystallises. The political economy of centralised ownership, top-down industrial projects, and profit accumulation at the hands of a few that characterise the energy supply chain of today, proved to be faulty. For that reason, the key principle of a transition should be a decentralised system of community energy based on democratisation, localization, and environmentally sustainable methods of energy sourcing.

This report is a result of the workshop Community energy law in Greece, Serbia, Poland, and Bulgaria. Stock taking and bottlenecks., which was organised by the Heinrich Boll Foundation of Warsaw, Thessaloniki and Belgrade in collaboration with the CoopTech Hub over the course of the Community Energy Spring Gathering in Athens, precisely on 8-10 of May 2023. The main aim of the project is to shed light onto community energy initiatives in listed countries and to summarise the key elements of their legal framework on decentralised energy systems that engage communities in energy production. The event was also a great opportunity to share the hands-on knowledge of community energy initiatives formation and later management in Greece, Serbia, Poland and Bulgaria.

The mentioned above Community Energy Spring Gathering was organised by, the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives, and Electra Energy Cooperative, as well as community leaders, policy experts, and representatives of energy cooperatives and organisations coming from various countries, all of whom exchanged experiences in organising, operating, and supporting community energy initiatives in their countries. The event brought together people from places with numerous thriving energy communities and regions where community energy experts, activists, and supporters are battling unfavourable regulatory and market conditions. Greece, Serbia, Poland, and Bulgaria are at different stages of community energy development and therefore there is a need to provide a platform to dive deeper into the current state of the legal framework on energy communities/prosumers as well as to discuss legislative possibilities and limitations regarding the topic.

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