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Assessing country readiness for energy communities development: a case study on Italy

Panel: 5. A smart new start for sustainable communities

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Alessandro Sciullo, Italy
Anna Grignani, Università di Torino, Italy
Mehmet Efe Biresselioglu, İzmir Ekonomi Üniversitesi
Johannes Reichl, Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz
Andrea Kollmann, Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
Edoardo Ferrero, Università di Torino, Italy


Energy communities (EC) have been gaining relevance for the past decade in the EU as new actors in the energy system with a huge potential for the energy transition. As confirmed by the recent EU Directives (Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU and Internal Electricity Market Directive 2019/944/EU) time has come to activate underused strengths of community-driven initiatives to empower the role of citizens in energy production and consumption and the consequent economic benefits for the (local) community and climate-neutral energy production. However, unleashing the potential of energy communities requires citizens’ acceptance and engagement supported by new business models, financially viable solutions within a clear legal and administrative framework.

The ambition of this paper is to provide a structured set of aspects to be considered to assess the feasibility of energy communities in a specific socio-economic and institutional environment grouped along three persepctives which jointly define ‘country readiness’ for EC development: the socio-economic profile, the energy consumption and production and the institutional framework with a focus on the transposition of the aforesaid EU Directives.

Through the collection of secondary data and a wide review of the main law and regulation at national, regional and local level an exploration of the three perspectives for Italy is proposed that allows highlighting both the strengths and the weaknesses of the country regarding of EC potential.

Overall, Italy is characterized by a contrasting profile with few regions having already adopted specific laws aiming to encourage the development of energy communities. Moreover Italy is charachterised by a considerably heterogeneous territory low technological development, a fossil-based energy system, a limited awareness of the individual engagement for addressing energy and environmental issues but also by a long term experience on cooperations and community based initatives.

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Download this paper as pdf: 5-112-21_Sciullo.pdf