In Kraków, the year 2023 was mainly devoted to discussions about energy transition, including, among other things, building awareness about energy communities. The energy and climate crisis that we are currently facing mobilize residents, entrepreneurs, scientific institutions, as well as local government units, to seek new solutions, both technical and organizational, to reduce energy consumption, reduce utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To ensure city energy security, the Municipality of Krakow is looking for solutions to carry out the energy transition in a socially acceptable way. Facing such a challenge requires the involvement of diversified groups, both energy consumers, energy generators, trading company as well as distribution system operators. The implementation of energy communities brings many benefits, including mainly: counteracting the climate crisis, lowering energy bills, reducing the load on distribution networks and, above all, strengthening social ties.
In response to the above, we decided to take action to establish energy communities in the Municipality of Krakow, which are a key element in the process of transformation of cities and regions. Energy communities under Polish law are:
- energy cluster,
- collective prosumer,
- virtual prosumer
- energy cooperative in urban-rural areas.
In addition, future plans include:
- renewable energy virtual prosumer,
- tenant prosumer,
- citizen energy community
- energy cooperative in the city
Until November 2023, on behalf of the City Council, an external expert provided direct services to stakeholders in the field of creating energy communities, investing in renewable energy sources, and taking actions to reduce energy consumption. Interviews and discussions with stakeholders were held in many fields: by phone, on-site, remotely. Stakeholders had at their service the experts with valuable knowledge of the first collective prosumer in Poland implementation, and also in past activities have worked with, among others, the National Center for Nuclear Research, which deals with energy, cooperative and digital transformation on a daily basis. They advise local governments, communities and companies on how to increase energy autonomy and save through energy cooperatives. They carry out projects that mobilize local communities to take action, teach agility and bottom-up.
During the meetings, intensive discussions were held, site visits were made, and analyses were provided to various stakeholders, including: Social Housing Association, Elementary School, Local Government Nursery, Theater, and Municipal Departments related to building construction. Discussions included the profitability of photovoltaic installations, subsidy programs, feasible energy communities, technical details of connecting photovoltaic installations for housing communities and cooperatives, the situation on the fuel and energy market, and possible new technical and organizational solutions.
Author: Franciszek Kusiak, City of Krakow
Picture credits: Bogusław Świerzowski