Community energy in Central and Eastern Europe was the main topic of the Climate Action Network (CAN) and Friends of the Earth Hungary workshop held in Budapest, on the 1st and 2nd of June. 2Celsius was part of the event which brought together NGO energy campaigners and energy communities’ representatives from Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Romania. Building local resilience in the middle of the energy crisis is the purpose of the civil society in CEE and the European Union policy is paving the way for this. Just a few talking points of the event:

  • The European directive for renewable energy is clearly pushing for community energy in the EU.
  • Although the legislation is not perfect, it gives the direction for a just and sustainable energy system.
  • The transposition of RED II by the Member States is behind or is a copy/paste endeavor that does not take into consideration the local particularities.
  • Some countries offer some good practices in terms of community energy: Ireland has a special tender for energy communities, Greece has energy poverty embedded in the community energy definition, UK is the first to make a community energy assessment, etc.
  • Some countries are the bad apples: Hungary only allows energy communities for electricity, but not heating, Romania has chaotic legislation that does not support prosumers, Slovakia did not transpose the EU legislation, etc.
  • Beyond the public policy, local initiatives exist and are developing. Community-owned renewable energy projects are happening more and more in Central and Eastern Europe, based on different legal forms, business models, and financial resources.

Cooperativa de Energie from Romania also participated in the event, bringing insights from their one-year existence. The movement of people participating to the energy transition is in full bloom and 2Celsius is part of it. If you didn’t by now, please sign the open letter to call for more community solar power on the roofs in Europe:

What is community energy? Although it doesn’t have a standard definition, community energy refers to all renewable energy projects that are owned or controlled by small communities, virtual or geographical.