What: COMPILE organised the first Winter School

Where: Ljubljana & Luče, Slovenia

When: 6th-10th December 2021

After postponing our 1st Summer School due to the pandemics, we organised a Winter School instead. The event was hosted by the project coordinator, the University of Ljubljana (UL), between December 5 and December 10, 2021. The main venue was the coordinator’s home institution, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. There were 21 participants in total, coming from 15 different countries and with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. In one of the online sessions also two representatives of our international partner IRMA from India joined.

The goal of the first Winter School was mainly to inform and motivate and as well to encourage the discussion on a broader level. The agenda is available here. Each day was dedicated to a different main topic which was elaborated in an interactive way and with open and informal discussion. To begin with, representatives of project coordinator, Assoc. Prof. Andrej Gubina and Mr. Tomi Medved, PhD, welcomed participants and introduced Slovenia, the project and Winter School. After that participants told us a bit about themselves and their motivation to join the event. In the afternoon Stanislas d’Herbemont from COMPILE partner explained the EU context in terms of energy communities, their examples, benefits and how to start one. Later in the afternoon, it was time for a city tour around a charming Ljubljana old town with a professional guide. Every day was concluded with a social dinner.

The main topic of the second day was community building, led by Mr. Stanislas d’Herbemont. To warm up, participants were introduced to the COMPILE tool CoolKit which gave a good base for group work. First, there was a discussion regarding the largest issue in the energy system today, the potential of the energy community to solve it and possible barriers. The second exercise was the SWOT and stakeholder analysis. Group work continued also in the afternoon when the workshop on Maturity Scale was held. This is a tool, developed by the COMPILE partners and Joanneum Reserch, that provides insights and a deeper understanding of the level of development, the core strengths and key weaknesses of a certain community group dealing with energy-related issues. Groups worked on populating the dashboard with different groups of factors which consisted of threshold and continuous indicators. The last session of the day but still very important was held by Assoc. Prof. Andrej Gubina. He explained how to prepare and run the EU research projects and pointed out the building of a winning consortium, key steps in proposal writing and leading of the submission proposal.

To change the classroom and Ljubljana environment a bit, we went to visit pilot site Luče, where the first self-sufficient energy community in Slovenia was established. The village welcomed us with the picturesque winter scenery. To learn how everything started and how the community operates, we invited several speakers: Mr. Ciril Rosc, the major of Luče Municipality, Mr. Bojan Stojanović from COMPILE partner Petrol who runs the energy community and Mr. Miran Rošer from DSO Elektro Celje. Each of them explained their role in the project, the main milestones and challenges. Technical solutions in the field, especially community battery and EV charger, were showcased by Mr. Igor Jan from Petrol. Many questions were addressed to all of the speakers which is proof of groundbreaking work done within the COMPILE. Before we headed back to Ljubljana, our Croatian partner ZEZ presented their pilot site Križevci. In Ljubljana we continued with two pilot site introductions – Rafina and Lisbon. Mr. Alexandros Chronis (Municipality of Rafina-Pikermi) and Mr. Niccolò Primo (Coopernico) joined us online.

Thursday was a technical day and so dedicated to the sessions of COMPILE technical tools that are behind the operation of our pilot sites: HomeRule, GridRule, ComPilot, EVRule and Value Tool. They were presented by their developers, our project partners. First Mr. Esteban Pastor and Mr. Diego Garcia from ETRA introduced the Spanish pilot site Crevillent, including a sister project MERLON, and their two technical tools for managing and operating the energy community – GridRule and HomeRule. After lunch, our colleague from Petrol, Mr. Igor Jan, joined us and led the session about the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) or HomeRule as we call it in COMPILE. The tool helps to optimise the low voltage network what was the case in Luče. To continue, two representatives of ETREL held the next session which began with the company presentation by Ms. Urša Jakoš. Mr. Jure Ratej focussed on EV mobility and the tool EVRule developed within the COMPILE. In the end, Ms. Chloé Fournely from the UL organised a workshop on PV investment which aimed at studying methods for estimating the costs and benefits of investing in photovoltaics for individuals and energy communities. The first part was about technical and economic data gathering, while the second one was a case study with the PV stimulator Value Tool which is under development.

The goal of the last day was mostly the wrap-up of the previous days which focussed on the call for action for all the participants. Namely, during the whole Winter School they were given the knowledge and motivation to organise a workshop on energy communities in their home countries with the support of COMPILE and its partners. They also provided us the valuable feedback about the event.

As all good things come to an end, also the Winter School did. We had the best participants we could have wished for – curious, motivated and fun. During the event, the COMPILE project ideas and solutions have been shared and we are sure that this will lead to fruitful collaboration so our goal was accomplished.

Thank you to all the partners, collaborators and supporters who made the Winter School happen!