Fossil fuels provide more than 70% of the worldwide energy. This is because of their characteristics associated with cost, abundance, transportation and storage. This non- renewable energy source is expected to be exploited until the end of the century at least. Because of this constant exploitation of fossil fuels from the energy and industrial sector, a steep increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been caused. According to IPCC the quantitative increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere from the pre-industrial era (1880), is of the order of 130 ppm, reaching 410 ppm to date. Taking into consideration the population and the economic trend, the atmospheric CO2 concertation is expected to keep rising. This increase is already affecting the mean global temperature, which has been increased for about 0.8 °C the last centuries, and if no action is taken, it will continue to rise. Therefore, taking measures to deal with this problem appears to be imperative.
Together with disputes accompanying the gray energy, another present – day issue deteriorating communities, is the energy poverty. According to the European Commission energy poverty occurred when a household suffers from a lack of adequate energy services in the home. It is estimated that currently more than 50 million households in the European Union are living under energy poverty. The later followed by aftermath on people’s health and wellbeing, with the main causes being the mental illnesses and stress that can be promoted by the economic magnitude of the bills, while problems can be caused by the low temperatures due to the absence of heating. Taking measures for expunging this problem is considered essential.
The long-term goals of the EU Climate Policy aim at cutting of GHG emissions in a magnitude of 80-95% compared to the 1990 levels. This target strongly relies on higher RES decentralized energy production. Nevertheless, in many cases, RES projects come across skepticism and resistance by local communities. At the same time, medium and big scale RES investments share limited benefits with local communities and deliver low social impact. Additionally, RES investments are failing to provide direct tangible solutions for tackling energy poverty – especially in urban areas. In order to encourage the active involvement of local communities, tackle energy poverty and increase social acceptance of RES projects, the EU Renewable Energy Directive II introduced a new model, called “Renewable Energy Communities”. In countries, such as Greece, this directive has already been integrated into the national legal framework by passing the law 4513 (“Energy Communities”, 2018) – which also extends to community energy virtual-net metering for the first time in Europe.
EnerCom – EnerPov project aims at developing a virtual-net metering community energy business model. The main focus will be on tackling urban energy poverty, delivering strong social impact and strengthening social cohesion in urban and rural areas. As this is the first time that such a model will be developed in Europe, a virtual-net metering community energy startup scheme (already under development) will serve as testbed in order to conduct a feasibility study based on existing and reliable data.