LIFE-BECKON Lunch webinar , 13 February 2024, 14:00-15:00 CET

Energy communities are community-driven energy initiatives that contribute to a decentralised, flexible and sustainable energy system. Many energy agencies and public authorities aim to assist the citizen-led energy projects in development and operation, but struggle to provide structured and accessible support mechanisms. So-called ‘Technical Assistance Offices’ (TAO) are instruments that are popping up in several European cities, regions and energy agencies with this specific objective. Here, energy communities in all phases of development can receive professional support and access to a like-minded community. The LIFE-BECKON project focuses on the set-up of TAOs and experiments with different set-ups in its three pilot sites in Bulgaria, Denmark and Spain.

This lunchtime webinar will demonstrate how the LIFE-BECKON project contributes to empowering local and regional authorities and energy agencies in supporting local energy initiatives and communities. It displays how the concept of a TAO comes to life in Sofia’s Energy Agency and what the project-own Cookbook offers to public authorities willing to boost energy communities.

Agenda

14:00 Welcome Andrea Carosi, Climate Alliance

14:05 What is to gain from participating in the call for replication? Andrea Carosi, Climate Alliance, Q&A

14:20 LIFE-BECKON’s Cookbook for Energy Communities – Offers and how it will support energy agencies and public authorities Asier Larretxea, WeGlobal, Q&A

14:40 The TAO for energy communities in Sofia – An example of how an energy agency empowers public authorities and energy communities Nadya Nikolova, Sofia Energy Agency, Q&A

14:55 Closing Andrea Carosi, Climate Alliance

Registration is open.

International conference, 01.02.2024 | Online,  13:00 – 14:00 CET

Energy communities are community-driven energy initiatives that contribute to a decentralised, flexible and sustainable energy system. Many local authorities aim to assist the citizen-led energy projects in development and operation, but struggle to provide structured and accessible support mechanisms. So-called ‘Technical Assistance Offices’ (TAO) are instruments that are popping up in several European towns and cities with this specific objective. Here, energy communities in all phases of development can receive professional support and access to a like-minded community. The LIFE-BECKON project focuses on the set-up of TAOs and experiments with different set-ups in its three pilot sites in Bulgaria, Denmark and Spain.

This lunchtime event will demonstrate how the LIFE-BECKON project contributes to empowering local authorities in supporting local energy initiatives and communities. It displays how the concept of a TAO comes to life in Copenhagen and what the project-own One-Stop-Shop (OSS) offers to municipalities willing to boost energy communities.

Register now!

LIFE-BECKON is currently running an open call to promote energy communities. The goal is to enable local authorities to set up TAOs and to familiarise them with the concept of energy communities, empower them to create spaces for such citizen-centred energy projects and support them.

Learn more

During the ABEA Annual Conference, which took place on November 28, 2023 at the Hemus Hotel in Sofia, SOFENA organized an event to open a technical office and to present the upcoming activities under the LIFE-BECKON project to promote energy communities in Bulgaria. The event was attended by representatives of state and municipal authorities, non-governmental organizations and enterprises, energy experts and citizens.

The Еxecutive director of SEA SOFENA, Dr. Zdravko Georgiev, informed the participants that the purpose of the technical office is to consult all interested parties – local authorities, enterprises and citizens on how to create and operate an energy community. Information, training and consultation on technical, financial, management, regulatory and administrative issues will be made available to interested organizations and citizens through an online One Stop Shop platform.

The SOFENA Technical Assistance Office is the place where interested parties, citizens, organizations and businesses will get advice and find all the information and services they need to create and manage an energy community project.

For advice and more info:

On November 28, 2023, during the second day of the ABEA Annual Conference, a seminar on the legal issues of energy communities in the countries of the European Community under the Lightness project was held at the Hemus Hotel in Sofia. The event was attended by over 70 participants – representatives of state and municipal authorities, energy experts, citizens and representatives of the non-governmental sector.

The seminar was opened by Eng. Ivaylo Alexiev, executive director of SEDA, who emphasized the recent changes in Bulgarian legislation regarding renewable energy sources and the prospects for the development of energy communities in the country based on established models in Europe.

Dr. Zdravko Georgiev from SEA SOFENA introduced the existing good practices and the results of the pilot initiatives under the Lightness project, presenting the first steps for the formation of energy communities for renewable energy in our country.

Dr. Nadia Nikolova-Deme from SEA SOFENA made a comparative analysis of the definitions of civil energy communities and renewable energy communities in the light of the changes in the Bulgarian legislation.

Good examples of tools to help citizens to create energy communities and collective models were presented by Dr. Maria Trifonova – coordinator of the Shares project, CHIEC, and Eng. Stanislav Andreev from EnEffect acquainted the participants with the launch of the activities for setting up an energy cooperative in the municipality of Gabrovo in the form of a public-private partnership.

The seminar ended with a fruitful discussion on the possibilities that the creation of energy communities opens up to support energy poor households and to provide their members with  own energy at low prices.

The third meeting of the “BECKON” project was held in the city of Sofia on November 14 and 15, 2023.

Among the main highlights of the working groups held within the meeting were the new tools developed within the project to promote the creation of energy communities in the cities of Sofia, Ávila and Copenhagen.

The One Stop Shop online platform offers a variety of models and good practices from Europe for the development of such communities.

There is a section with basic concepts and definitions, as well as a place for everyone to ask questions.

The platform offers the opportunity for virtual meetings between businesses and citizens and access to expert opinion of leading specialists in the field of energy and renewable energy communities, both at the national and European level.

Within the project, a set of training materials has been developed for anyone who decides to become part of an energy community.

Very soon, everything will be available on SOFENA website, as well as on the website of the online platform.

Diana Paunova-Galeva, a chief expert in SOFENA participated in a ManagEnergy Master Class that aimed to equip Energy Agencies and Regional and Local Authorities across Europe with the skills and knowledge to foster, stimulate and develop sustainable energy projects in Europe. Designed to build the capacity, expertise and knowledge of energy agencies’ staff, these Master Classes also presented opportunities for networking with peers.

The course included 3 full days of intense training on the development and use of financial instruments. This Class was delivered in a blended learning format:

  • A first online session was on 27 September morning;
  • The second session was face-to-face in Brussels on 10-11 October (one and a half day);
  • The third and final session was online on 27 October.

The format of the classes included problem-solving exercises, workshops, case studies and guest lectures from agencies and organizations relevant to energy investments. 

The module focused on projects with investment levels in the region of €10-30 M, as these fit very well within current available PDA schemes (LIFE PDA calls as well as ELENA facility).

This Master Class was delivered by experts from the North-West Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency (REGEA), supported by guest speakers.

The program provided an overview of financial mechanisms and instruments, with emphasis on types of support which Energy Agencies can provide to enable projects to be progressed from concept through to implementation.  Financing tools and solutions were introduced and case studies provided of successful applications of funding models in regions across Europe.

Special focus was given to:

Modernization of street lighting (Smart-EPC model);

Deep retrofit of public and residential buildings (PPP and various EPC models);

Building integrated and stand PV systems and other renewable energy technologies (PPA model.

SOFENA`s team participated in a Workshop C – Municipal Solutions: Fighting energy poverty within the framework of the international 3-day conference Grafting Cities: Cultivating our common future in Modena, Italy.

Energy poverty is increasingly in the spotlight, not least because of the energy crisis in Europe. What can cities and towns do about it and how can they involve energy-poor citizens?

The workshop aimed to highlight solutions in place and enable municipal staff to make steps towards socially just climate actions and energy transition. Also support local and regional authorities to understand how to implement successful measures to mitigate energy poverty in municipalities.

Diana Galeva – a chief expert in SOFENA, presented the Energy Poverty Measures in Practice – Good Examples from Bulgaria and support the participants in 2 working groups that took place in the roundtable session of the workshop. The topics were as follows:

  • Socially just energy transition through increasing energy efficiency of buildings: renovation measures or newly built buildings with energy poor households;
  • Tackling energy poverty and socially just transition through energy provision – supporting measures of energy communities for energy poor households: models on setting up energy communities with supporting mechanisms for energy poor households.

Together with the partners from Climate Alliance SOFENA presented the project Life-Beckon in the Learn & Share Marketplace that was organized on 20.10.2023 as part of the international conference.

In the period October 17-19, 2023, the last consortium meeting of the Lightness project was held in Spain, which was combined with visits to the two pilot projects in the towns of Alginet, near Valencia, and Manzanares El Real, not far from Madrid.

The Energy Community in Alginet

An energy cooperative was established in Alginet as early as 1931 for the supply of electricity, and the distribution energy network is entirely owned by the members of the cooperative, that is, by the end users themselves. The local DSO supplies 46 million KW of electricity annually through 40 transformer centers with an installed capacity of 18,000 KW to 5,700 feed points equipped with smart meters. In early 2023, the Lightness project formed an energy community in which the residents of Alginet are involved with installed grid-connected photovoltaic systems placed on the roofs of their residential buildings.

Manza Energia

In the municipality of Manzanares El Real, an energy community has been organized at the initiative of the municipality, which includes 5 public buildings, 15 families in a situation of energy poverty and over 30 participants from the neighborhood energy association and others, supported by the local government. A PV installation with a battery has been built on the roof of the municipal sports center and there is also a charging point for EVs. The children in the municipal school are included in the initiative, and an energy saving program with prizes has been prepared for them. A Municipal Energy Office was established, which supports the activities of the community .

For more information on the good practice of the municipality of Manzanares, see the video link

Find us on Facebook