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CATALYST - Energy Poverty/Energy Democracy | Civic Europe
Community development, Environment and sustainability

CATALYST - Energy Poverty/Energy Democracy

“Co-developing solutions to tackle energy poverty and enhance community cohesion”


Who is behind this?

Dimitris Kitsikopoulos

ELECTRA ENERGY cooperative


Who is joining forces?

Peer-to-Peer Lab



Idea pitch

The project will support the young Epirus Energy Community to grow and it will also:
- Provide technical, material, and educational support to households facing energy poverty in Epirus
- Bring a diversity of stakeholders to the table and will increase community cohesion.
- Create a regional nucleus to support future energy projects that are sustainable and participatory.

Where will your project idea take place?

Epirus region, Greece

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Energy poverty is affecting almost 125m Europeans and has major social implications. For the region of Epirus in Greece, the challenge is even deeper as it is among the poorest regions in Europe.
The region has the highest unemployment rate in the country. This effect is even more pronounced among young people, thus contributing to the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon. Climate change is threatening both the agricultural and tourism sectors in Epirus, two sectors that form the backbone of the regional economy. Thus, rates of unemployment are set to increase further in the future. New (green) entrepreneurship tools and opportunities are required.
There are divisions among citizen groups of the local community due to recent oil investigations in the rich ecosystem of Zagori.

Who are you doing it for?

- Citizens facing energy poverty (approx. 33,400 citizens).
- We will bring together a diversity of stakeholders (local government representatives, large renewable and hydrocarbon industry representatives, and grassroots groups/citizens) and to present them the alternative of an Energy Community, and collaboratively map out how this community could be used as a common ground for dialogue and social impact. This will be an opportunity to mediate dialogue between different opposing sides (e.g., private interest groups and grassroots citizen initiatives) and start resolving long-standing conflicts.
- Citizens, especially young people, seeking to engage with renewable energy and collective green projects.

How do you plan to get there?

Work package (WP) 1: Project management
-Project and financial management
-Develop KPIs and metrics measuring the social impact (eg energy poverty reduction)
-Knowledge transfer

WP 2: Awareness raising and dissemination
-Workshops on awareness-raising and engagement
-Training and education
Having been shortlisted in the top 40 applications in 2020, we believe our application is now much stronger. We have further mobilized local stakeholders and organized a very successful event on setting up Epirus Energy Community, together with P2P lab,, and the Technical University of Athens. Many people have expressed interest to start moving towards more practical steps of implementation.
Further engagement among the local community is needed, but it gives us a foundation for further work.

WP 3: Energy Community development
Support the young Epirus Energy Community to grow:
-Organize workshops on the following topics: 1) Cooperative decision-making and governance. 2) Identifying challenges and solutions. 3) Co-creating the business plan.
4)Business modeling.
-Collaboratively design the activities of the energy community
-Work with the members and other stakeholders (Municipality) on developing solutions to tackle energy poverty

WP 4: Participatory and multi-stakeholder dialogues
Participatory and multi-stakeholder dialogues with local groups

What are the expected results?

-Empowered and Informed citizens and local authorities about clean and democratic energy models.
-Lower energy poverty rates and higher levels of community cohesion.
-A project which can serve as a hub for clean and participatory energy projects in the region. This work could be further scaled out to other regions and even to other Balkan countries.
-A collectively created business plan, a feasibility study, and a ready-to-use set of KPIs on the environmental and social impact of the energy community (e.g., carbon savings, job creation, reduction in energy poverty)
-An economically sustainable energy community that will serve as a catalyst for green energy entrepreneurship and for addressing local societal and energy-related conflicts

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The model of Energy Communities (recently introduced by law 4513/18’) is aiming to strengthen energy democracy and to empower citizens and local communities to design and apply socially innovative solutions in order to enable local sustainable development. The model is based on the 7 cooperative principles.
Local citizens, by joining this democratically owned organization, will become familiar with democratic governance and participatory decision-making. The energy community will serve as an inclusive organization and platform where citizens from different local groups and backgrounds will have the opportunity to collectively design and apply systemic and holistic solutions to mitigate their common economic, social, and environmental challenges.

Why is this idea important to you?

4 team members: Dimitris is a community energy expert based in Epirus. Chris has worked with local groups to address conflicts caused by oil drilling in the region. Ignacio will tap into his NGO networks to help the project scale out. Miriam is a RES expert. Christos is also based in Epirus, he is a founding member of P2P lab and the newly formed Epirus En. Community.

The development of such a project will mitigate the key social, environmental, and economic challenges of the region.
We have already been discussing it with local stakeholders and presenting it at local events.
We strongly believe that the ground is fertile and the timing is ideal. Especially now, that some pre-project development has taken place and that we have expanded and solidified our stakeholder contacts.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

-Event and workshops
-Other expenses
-Experts (business planning, participatory decision making, conflict resolution, legal advice)
-Project management
-Communication and dissemination
-Project Coordination
-Community engagement
-Conflict resolution
-Business development
-Events & workshops

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Is your region facing similar challenges, associated with energy poverty and social cohesion? Do you think the project could be replicated in your region? Would you be interested to participate in it? Do you think our project is feasible? What would be some possible risks we need to be aware of?




Idea created on April 25, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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