What: COMPILE partner organised an online discussion Citizens in the energy transition

Where: Online

When: 27th April 2021

COMPILE partner Green energy cooperative (ZEZ) in cooperation with Terra Hub, CROSOL and EIT Climate KIC Hrvatska organised an online discussion Citizens in energy transition. The event joined around 70 participants – citizens, representatives of local and regional energy cooperatives and national and European organizations and institutions active in the field of renewable energy sources. They exchanged insights and experiences in the field of involving citizens and local communities in the energy transition to renewable energy sources.

To begin, Mr. Josh Roberts, Senior Policy Advisor at (also a COMPILE partner), pointed out that citizens’ energy communities are a social, not a technological concept, which brings the local community 3-8 times more value compared to traditional investments in energy projects. Therefore, moving citizens from the point of passive observers to active participants should be a priority of national legislative frameworks for the development of renewable energy sources and recovery from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Julije Domac, Special Advisor on Energy and Climate at the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, reminded us of Germany, a model country that we can follow. In Germany, 33% of citizens and 16% of local economies have a share in the ownership of renewable energy sources, which means that half of the national capacity is owned by citizens and local communities. We already know that this may be the goal for the entire European Union by 2050 and to achieve it, we must adjust the national legislative framework.

The need for its flexibility was pointed out by Mr. Borut Rajer, Director of Operations at Borzen, an electricity market operator in neighboring Slovenia, where good practices for encouraging energy communities are already in place. Mr. Rajer emphasised that a combination of policies for different types of projects and flexibility within the legislative framework related to renewable energy sources is needed as laws do not change as fast as technology advances.

EU directives stipulate that all member states must enable their citizens to produce and share electricity within local energy communities, which are open and democratic organizations (one member = one vote) and the implementation of these directives can be expected in Croatia soon. The new Law on the Electricity Market, presented during the discussion by Ms. Kristina Čelić from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, represents a positive step in changing the paradigm of participants and roles in the electricity system, in which citizens will have the opportunity to participate and make more active decisions.

The event concluded with a lively discussion where different perspectives and experiences were shared. Among the panelists was also Mr. Tomi Medved, PhD, from COMPILE coordinator the University of Ljubljana.

The agenda is available here.