Blog #15

Enabling sustainable Energy Communities

Authors: Alexandros Chronis, Foivos Palaiogiannis, Iasonas Kouveliotis-Lysikatos, Panos Kotsampopoulos, Nikos Hatziargyriou
National Technical University of Athens – NTUA

Energy communities are an emerging, enabling factor for the transition to a more sustainable, efficient and democratic energy system. They enable citizens to collectively participate and shape the energy production mix, by fostering investments in small Renewable Energy Sources (RESs), such as rooftop photovoltaics (PVs).

Energy communities are collaborative types of organizations focused on collective energy initiatives, pursuing a common goal of benefitting the community members. The energy community structure organizes a number of citizens and possibly local businesses, along with the municipal agency, aggregating them into a market layer. Thus, a common coordination of the operational decisions can be achieved. The practical implementation of such a local energy market via an energy community requires effective organization and coordination among the local citizens in the first place, entailing various public procedures.

The requirement for such a social consensus is the manifestation of the social dimension of these structures. The actual day-to-day operation of the proposed model certainly requires an advanced technical infrastructure for implementing the administrative goals, while these goals are created from the social interactions of the members which define the governance body of the community. In that context, energy communities should be seen not as static structures but instead as living organisms. Τhe techno-economic paradigm of an energy community does not differ much from that of a VPP, or in some cases a microgrid. They are all characterized by the aggregation of (small) distributed energy resources (DERs), including energy storage systems and in several cases flexible loads

EDDIE’s partners NTUA and KTH, recently published an article at the Energies journal (MDPI) which investigates the economic benefits of an energy community investing in small-scale photovoltaics and applying energy trading amongst the members, under the establishment of a local energy market. The paper studies whether a community-operated local energy market can enhance the investment feasibility of behind-the-meter small scale PVs, installed by Energy Community members.

Driven by the on-going public discourse on forming an energy community in the municipality of Rafina-Pikermi in Greece, the paper investigates the economic benefits for local citizens and the municipality participating in an energy community that operates a local electricity market. Assuming the current situation in the regulatory framework and disregarding grid tariffs and local trading taxation, the simulations show that the economic benefits for members participating in the community, are significantly enhanced, while the introduction of flexibility can boost self-consumption, increasing the overall efficiency of the community.

For more information and the full results, please refer to the following article:

Chronis A-G, Palaiogiannis F, Kouveliotis-Lysikatos I, Kotsampopoulos P, Hatziargyriou N, “Photovoltaics Enabling Sustainable Energy Communities: Technological Drivers and Emerging Markets, Energies, 2021, 14(7), 1862;