Looking back at a year of community energy workshops



Antonia Proka and Sara Tachelet (RESCoop.eu)

Publication date

December 12, 2023

December, time to take stock: Over the past year, the LIFE LOOP journey has been marked by several in-person and online workshops, wherepartners shared knowledge about the benefits and practicalities of community energy. These sessions covered technical and financial aspects, as well as strategies for fostering community engagement around a number of topics:

  • renewable energy production, 
  • collective self-consumption, 
  • energy sharing,
  •  energy efficiency, and 
  • shared e-mobility.

Participants from local authorities and community organisations learned how to raise awareness about the advantages of energy communities and explored gender-inclusive community mobilisation. They also received guidance on navigating the complexities of financing, including the challenging realm of public procurement.

In addition to those workshops, we diligently worked on developing comprehensive roadmaps for community energy in Crete, Bistrita, and Zagreb. Their design started from stakeholder mapping, analysing positions and incentives, skills assessment, and defining avenues for involvement. We are now in the final stages of crafting action plans aligned with the unique visions of each community.

If you’re about to develop your action plan, you may want to proceed like participants did at the recent workshop: discussions spanned diverse topics such as 

  • technology, 
  • citizen involvement, 
  • financial matters, 
  • organisational arrangements (including internal organisation and working groups, and the ways of involvement of municipalities in the energy community), 
  • networking, and 
  • policy matters.

Step-by-step progress involving a great variety of people

Co-designing workshops for energy community roadmap design were organised in Romania, Crete and Greece. Even though the approach was similar, we had very diverse discussions and interactions, facing slightly different challenges. 

In Romania: Life LOOP workshops hosted a total of 95 participants. 

  • An online introduction with civil servants from the municipality of Bistrita
  • A second workshop with people from the City and the local community of Bistrita focusing on alternative scenarios for community energy
  • The final workshop brought together about 35 people to discuss and co-develop the city’s community energy roadmap.

One of the main challenges discussed was the lack of engagement of the local citizens. Several ideas were discussed for activating the local community with regard to the energetic upgrade of their flats and beyond.

Workshop in Bistrita ©LIFE LOOP

In Greece: The workshops engaged a total of 96 participants, fostering a collaborative environment for civil servants, members, and potential new members of the Minoan Energy Community. The first two sessions introduced the topic of community energy (including, technical, social and financial issues). It was followed by a final workshop for roadmap development.

Workshop in Crete ©LIFE LOOP

In Croatia: Over 200 people were mobilized through LIFE LOOP workshops facilitated by the energy cooperative ZEZ, with a focus on public procurement and citizen-owned solar energy. 

  • first workshops: city representatives could learn how they can develop solar energy projects and provide support to citizens to invest in solar energy
  • last workshop: a first draft of the city roadmap was presented to and discussed with the members of the Zagreb Community Energy Working Group.

Workshop in Zagreb ©LIFE LOOP


Currently, all three pilot cities are in the final stages of refining their roadmaps. In the new year, we will share exciting updates on the cities’ roadmaps, concrete action plans, and invaluable lessons learned along the way. And for those who wish to follow their steps: The upcoming LIFE LOOP accreditation scheme for local authorities will actually include training on community energy roadmaps!