Italian – Latvian renewable energy community exchange visits

11 Nov 22

Italian – Latvian renewable energy community exchange visits

What do Latvian renewable energy communities have in common with their Italian counterparts? As it turns out, a lot. Within the framework of the COME RES project, a group of Latvian renewable energy stakeholders – including representatives from the municipalities, the non-governmental/local initiatives sector and the national authorities of Latvia - visited the Italian municipality of Magliano Alpi (Piedmont region) between June 27 and 30, 2022 to find out more about the Italian best practice renewable energy communities.

The knowledge transfer workshop

The aim of the visit was to exchange knowledge and expertise on establishing and further developing of public administration-driven best practice cases for renewable energy communities. The workshop included presentations from COME RES partners ENEA and Ecoazioni, representatives from Magliano Alpi energy communities, experts from universities and research centres, particularly the Energy Center Polito, the Italian Forum for Energy Communities. Valuable contribution was also provided by the representatives of those Italian municipalities (Matera, Collesalveti, Comunità Collinare del Friulii) which are transferring and adapting the Magliano Alpi renewable energy community experience. This allowed the group to discuss not only the general aspects of renewable energy community promoting policies and enabling frameworks (planning, financial, technical and infrastructure aspects), but also to discuss very practical solutions regarding renewable energy community start-up and operation.

The whole transfer visit was organised in a very interactive way, starting with the presentations and continued by the interactive discussions between the mentoring experts and the Latvian transfer team. Key elements of interest for the visiting Latvian team included: the central role that the municipality played, the governance structure, the business model and the IOT platform with which the community manages its energy production, consumption and sharing data.

Energy City Hall, Magliano Alpi

In December 2020 Magliano Alpi municipality founded Italy’s first renewable energy community - the Energy City Hall association. The municipality provided the initial investments to install solar PV (20 kWp) on public buildings, and in turn, was able to enlarge the renewable energy community using both public-private and private investments. The Energy City Hall provides renewable energy for the Town Hall, library, school, gym, and several households nearby. Additionally there are plans in place for two electric vehicle charging points.

For both the municipality and the citizens who belong to the renewable energy community, the key benefits have proven to be the reduction of energy costs. Based on the success of the Energy City Hall, two more renewable energy communities have since been established in Magliano Alpi; the Energy City Hall model has served as an example and is additionally being replicated in a range of other Italian municipalities.  

Next steps

The Latvian project team will use the lessons learned during this transfer visit as the basis for drafting a roadmap for further development of renewable energy communities in Latvia.

Image: Magliano Alpi/ Aija Zučika

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