Fair Energy Communities (FECOS) is a project supported by NESOI European Islands Facility, managed by our partners from SINLOC, and promoted by Associazione di Comunità Energetica di Fondo Saccà, Fondazione di Comunità di Messina, and Fondazione Horcynus Orca.
What is FECOS?
The project envisages to finalize and implement a working model for solidarity-based energy communities, able to mutualise energy between members according to social algorithms, connecting energy efficient buildings.
More in specific, the project aims to finalize the energy community model implemented by the newly formed Energy Community (EC) of Fondo Saccà located in the Municipality of Messina (Sicily), and replicate it in 3 other Sicilian territories: the Municipalities of Mirabella Imbaccari, Casalvecchio Siculo and on the small island of Salina (Aeolian archipelago).
The investments will activate the local building-related and energy-efficiency suppliers&workers, with a relevant economic impact in a disadvantaged area, also developing new competencies thanks to technological innovations. In addition, thanks to the beforementioned algorithm, which takes social difficulties into account, a greater share of the benefits goes to those who are weaker
Energy Communities: A strong tool for energy poverty mitigation
Slums were built in Fondo Sacca, in the town of Messina, after a major earthquake in 1908 and after the bombings of the Second World War. Over 1,800 families still lived in the slums in recent years in a state of high urban degradation and social marginalization.
In the framework of a complex urban regeneration programme, part of the slum was dismantled and at their place were created green buildings to house disadvantaged people and community services, as well as a public park.
As an outcome of this regeneration programme, an Energy Community was created. This programme involves innovative technological solutions concerning energy efficiency interventions, energy production, and management systems. In addition, a social algorithm has been created to calculate and redistribute the revenues from renewable energy production. The redistribution algorithm allows covering the cost of the investments, for which the disadvantaged families did not have to pay anything; and redistributing the remaining part in proportion to the level of social fragility of the households.
Energy communities are one of the tools identified to promote sustainable development models for territories with weaker socio-economic characteristics. Urban regeneration projects and energy communities had already been implemented to fight energy poverty and inequality. The energy aspect is crucial in those territories because of the high cost of energy impacting disadvantaged families, the high potential for photovoltaic production given the location and high solar irradiation in Sicily, and the strong possibility of having an impact on the lives of these people.
Expected energy savings
The overall energy needs of the buildings have been estimated using as reference the UNI/TS 11300. In Fondo Saccà the primary energy needs of the new building will be equal to 19 kWh/m2/year against the 70 kWh/m2/year of a traditional building in the same climatic zone. The building is actually replacing a slum, which is much more energy inefficient. Adding also the interventions in the other ECs, the total primary energy savings will be at least 176.361 kWh/year. Knowing that the energy used in Fondo Saccà and Salina comes exclusively from the electricity grid and that in Mirabella the current energy system is powered by methane gas, a total annual saving of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere of at least 47 tons is expected.
How does NESOI Support this project?
The European Islands Facility (NESOI) aims to unlock the potential of EU islands to become the locomotives of the European Energy Transition. To do so, NESOI aims to mobilize more than €100 Million of investment in sustainable energy projects to give EU islands the opportunity to implement energy technologies and innovative approaches, in a cost-competitive way.
There are some challenges of an administrative and regulatory nature: the energy community is a structure introduced in the legislation but still in progress, parts of the legislation are missing to complete the picture and allow investments and their concrete realisation. NESOI will allow the model to be finalised and packaged so that it can be replicated. For municipalities, the model developed by the project can be a useful tool to address social issues and they could use the model to develop a social policy for disadvantaged people. Through the support of NESOI, the aim is to develop pathways, documentation, and templates that can be tools for municipalities to replicate and adapt the model.
More in specific, NESOI has provided the following support:
- Review or completion of energy audits and technical dimensioning of the project
- Analysis of the legal framework and assessment of existing procedural PPP options
- Definition of technical, investment, financing, revenue stream and management costs
- Action plan and identification of project / process monitoring procedures
- Definition of the targeted tendering procedure and guidelines for the PPP contracts
- Data collection and market analysis
- Economic and Financial planning and economic-financial feasibility assessment
- Business Plan, preliminary Information Memorandum and Identification of potential financing options
- Market testing with potential investors