What are SCCALE 20 30 50 pilots up to? We spoke with Chris Vrettos, Communication Manager for the Greek pilot Hyperion to learn more about their challenges and achievements.
Up to now what has been the most challenging part of your project? How have you dealt with it?
So far, our biggest challenge has been navigating lengthy, uncertain bureaucratic procedures, leading to delays in obtaining permits. At the same time, we had to keep members engaged and faithful in the project’s success. One way we dealth with the lengthy permitting process was to keep referring to the DSO’s local charter, making phone calls and even in-person visits, asking about the status and progress of our application. In addition, to lower the chances of the project not being able to connect to the grid, we carefully scouted for a location that in the DSO’s public map still shows as “green” meaning that there’s available local capacity. At the same time, to keep members engaged through this months-long process, we kept organising social events, using communication channels (e-mails, viber group chat), and General Assemblies, to keep the community spirit alive.
Has being part of the SCCALE project helped in any way?
The monitoring tools developed through SCCALE have acted as a lighthouse for us, keeping track of the various indicators that we should pay attention to, in order to assess our project’s progress. The SCCALE consortium partners have also been an inspiration. They showed us potential business models that Hyperion could use.
What has been the most important moment for your pilot so far?
Organizing the community’s General Assembly in June 2023, with 70 participants on site and 30 connecting remotely (see picture above). This was the first time that all new members met, and we discussed updates of the 500kwp solar park that we’re developing. We also launched Hyperion’s voluntary Working Groups, through which regular members will be involved in various topics, such as tackling energy poverty, advocacy etc.
How close are you to reach your project’s goals?
We expect goal one to be completed by December 2023, when our 500kwp solar park will be completed and we will have reached approximately 140 members. At the same time we will be fullfilling goal 2, as the park will include up to 12 energy poor households for free, and goal 3 as we plan to specifically provide free energy to underrepresented groups (including for example a social kitchen).
How are you contributing to the development of new projects/energy communities
Electra Energy, and Hyperion energy community are both participating in the national cluster of energy communities, helping coordinate advocacy actions for the Greek community energy movement. Both organisations also participate in various webinars and events (in Greece and abroad), helping spread the knowledge around energy democracy and the need to phase out fossil fuels fast. We provide -mostly pro bono- legal and technical advice, as well as communications and networking support to various energy communities.
What is the next step for your project?
After the 500kwp solar park has been completed, we will examine the possibility of running additional collective self consumption projects, as well as other business models, including demand-response and flexibility, and citizen led renovations.
You want to start an energy community but don’t know where to begin? Express your interest in SCCALE 20 30 50 Helpdesk
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