Energy cooperatives draft bill expected next month

Legal framework to permit the establishment of energy cooperatives, a move essentially offering energy consumers the right to become shareholders in ventures, is being swiftly prepared by the energy ministry, working closely with RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, and KAPE, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving.

A range of officials dealing with economic, technical, scientific and other aspects are contributing to the preparations. The draft bill is expected to be ready for Parliament next month.

Besides launch and operating regulations concerning energy cooperatives, the draft bill in the making is also expected to encourage the participation of local communities. According to energypress sources, it will enable two types of energy cooperatives, local energy communities and renewable energy communities.

Local energy communities will be able to develop and lease distribution networks, while renewable energy communities will be able to produce, consume, store and sell renewable energy without being subject to disproportionate charges that do not reflect actual costs.

The government intends to incorporate its energy cooperatives initiative into its social policy by promoting the option as a form of protection for small investors against bigger players.

Market officials believe the energy cooperatives could reignite investment activity in the RES sector and also offer support to market tools such as net metering, virtual net metering and smart power meters.

Energy cooperatives already exist in a number of European countries, including Germany, Belgium and Denmark.