Energy Transition as a Mean of Strengthening Local Communities in Greece

On June 13-14 2016, the second Greek-German workshop on energy transition took place within the European Growth Initiative. Participants met in Thessaloniki/Greece to follow up on the results of the November 2015 meeting in Berlin and presented good municipal practices in tackling energy challenges. The latest workshop showed that there is a growing interest for citizen initiatives that provide better access to clean and cheap energy in Greece. There is also an urgent need to improve energy efficiency in private and public buildings in order to make better use of high quality energy. Gefördert durch:

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Ideas for possible green investment geared at triggering energy transition at the local level in communities of the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area were analysed. Presentations on existing investments in Thessaloniki opened the event. This included the photovoltaic installations for public schools and the street lighting renovation project financed within the European JESSICA mechanism. The Consumer Centre North Rein Westphalia (Verbraucherzentrale NRW e.V.) and German Green Business Association (B.A.U.M. e.V.) presented their initiatives as well, which supported the development of energy efficiency measures at the local level in Germany, including active engagement of the citizens.

Subsequent workshops gave the representatives of the local authorities, civil society, business and academia the chance to discuss possible investment projects, inspired by a mutual know-how-transfer with the German experts. Two focal points emerged as results of the group work: 1.)  it is necessary to establish trust for public policies in local communities and 2.) citizens need to be engaged for there to be active participation in the local implementation of the energy transition.

These core findings lead to the sketching of possible initiative ideas for Thessaloniki: these include the transfer of energy cooperative experiences from Germany to the tourism industry and establishing an energy efficiency platform that raises public awareness and inform citizens about available energy efficiency measures.

The event was organized by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform together with the Civil Society Observatory of Central Macedonia and with friendly support of the Hellenic-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is part of the European Growth Initiative which aims to help overcome structural difficulties in European municipalities through investments in energy transition – by developing project models that include finance options and multi-stakeholder participation.

Report on the workshop