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European Sustainable Energy Week
Novice19 januar 2023Evropska izvajalska agencija za podnebje, infrastrukturo in okolje

Local Energy Action Award: what makes a winning project?

Meet the Minoan Energy Community, winners of the 2022 EUSEW Local Energy Action Award. Discover how this outstanding team implemented renewable energy projects to bring clean energy to the island of Crete.

Minoan Energy Community photo
George Viskadouros accepts the prize during the Awards Ceremony at EUSEW 2022 in Brussels
© European Sustainable Energy Week

The deadline to apply for the EUSEW Awards has now passed, and no further applications will be accepted. Applicants can expect to be informed about whether they are a finalist by the end of March. 

 

Minoan Energy Community

 

‘We wanted to take Crete’s energy transition into our own hands’ 

Members of the Minoan Energy Community developed a project that will provide free electricity to over 100 households and businesses in Minoa Pediadas on Crete for the next 25 years. This is thanks to their new photovoltaic (PV) plant with an output of 405 kWp. Using a virtual net metering approach, community members have the option to compensate their annual electricity consumption with solar energy produced anywhere on the island. 

‘In September 2021, Arkalochori was struck by a 6.3 Richter earthquake, forcing almost 20% of its population to change place of residence,’ Antonis Kozyrakis recalls. To address the consequences of this devastating event, Minoan Energy Community plans to work with the regional authority to cover the energy needs of almost 100 low-income households, corresponding to more than 200 displaced earthquake victims.  

‘We started with this small-sized and realistic project to go through the process’, noted Dimitris Katsaprakakis about this pilot which has shown that they have a replicable model able to address energy poverty in Greece. 

Local awareness has grown since this first project, and the Minoan Energy Community has now surpassed 400 members. This includes households and individual citizens as well as public authorities, cooperatives, associations and SMEs. According to their value statement, ‘all are welcome to join the effort’.  

This inclusivity is reflected in how the community is governed. With the concept of ‘energy democracy’ at the core of the project, all strategic decisions are made by the General Assembly. The aim is to keep society as the key player, so that social justice remains at the heart of this work: whether in terms of climate change mitigation, environmental concerns or economic advantages. As the community’s president Charalampos Giannopoulos explained, ‘Crete is a region blessed with renewable energy sources and we would like to utilise this potential, not only to serve the energy transition but also to engage citizens in this process’. 

Minoan Energy Community image
Solar panels installed by the project
© Minoan Energy Community

In providing free energy to local residents, the Minoan Energy Community is contributing to the European Commission’s Clean energy for all Europeans package and delivering on the European Green Deal. Establishing citizen-led renewable energy projects through energy communities is crucial to the EU’s renewable energy directive and supports the REPowerEU Plan to accelerate the clean energy transition and increase Europe’s energy independence.

The community has also been recognised as an example of best practice by Interreg Europe’s CLEAN project and the European Citizen Energy Academy (EUCENA). 

Minoan Energy Community was one of three finalists shortlisted for the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2022 in the Local Energy Action category. The other finalists in the category were C-Track 50 and ComAct. ​ 

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

➔ EUSEW Award Winners 2022

➔ Get involved in EUSEW 2023: Your guide to shaping Europe’s energy transition

➔ EUSEW Awards 2023: Introducing the categories

 

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