The young electrical engineers Tina Manoleva and Angela Najdoska, jointly and under the mentorship of Professor Dragan Minovski, Ph.D, and Ljupcho Dimov, Head of the Department on Energy Efficiency in the Municipality of Karposh, presented today to wider audience the key recommendations on how to achieve a staggering 75.82% of power independence in the municipality. This means that as much as ¾ of the present electricity consumption at the municipal level could be covered by solar power, by using nature’s potential of the Sun, as well the infrastructural capacities already existing in the municipality, i.e. the rooftop surfaces. Estimates and data collection have been made, taking account of the present electricity consumption at the municipal level and the planned annual photovoltaic electricity generation from systems installed on the rooftops of residential and public facilities accordingly, by following the model of energy cooperatives.
By illustrating these potentials through the example of “Bratstvo Elementary School” the study showcases the financial cost-effectiveness of the energy cooperatives as a model for constructing photovoltaic plants on existing public facilities. Thus, if one cooperant invests app. 3,000 EUR, after 15 years (s)he will reap a profit of approximately 1,995.84 EUR (with 3.5% inflation rate). Compared to savings deposits, we can conclude that the interest rate for investing 3,000 EUR for 15-year period is 5.5%. The return of the investment, in turn, would happen in 7.1 years. From the perspective of savings in CO2 emissions, we are looking at 16,121.19 tons of carbon dioxide savings in 15 years. This way, the energy cooperatives would not only contribute to the power independence and self-sustainability of the municipality, but also to a municipality whose development is based on technological progress, in harmony with its natural potentials and resources. According to recommendations, after the expiry of 15 years from the establishment of the cooperative, the ownership of the photovoltaic plant would shift to the public facility. This way, it will be the public facility that will sell the generated electricity on the free market, keeping all the revenues to itself.
Mr. Stefan Bogoev, Mayor of the Municipality of Karposh also addressed participants at today’s promotion event, welcoming the initiative and presenting all to-date commitments and efforts of the municipality for implementing progressive energy policies at the local level.
When addressing renewable energy sources, there is one segment which is often disregarded, yet is of key importance for the energy transition process. And that is the political will. The development of this study on “Energy Independent and Sustainable Karposh” in cooperation with the Municipality of Karposh is an example of political will demonstrated by mayor Bogoev and his team, and his strenuous commitment for implementing the identified recommendations, leading up to the development of the first energy cooperative in our country.
Hence is the motive of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung to promote and further support energy cooperatives as alternative business activity, in this case, for production of electricity.
With the support of the energy cooperatives, the state, as the key partner in the socially just energy transition, shall pave an uninterrupted process of democratization within the sector, and will reshape the relationship between electricity and its citizens: it will be perceived not only as a source of electricity and a monthly expense, but also as a source of revenue.
The idea for energy independent and self-sustainable Karposh was commended by partners from the region, more specifically by Melani Furlan from the Green Energy Cooperative in Zagreb, Croatia, and by Slobodan Jerotich from the Energy Cooperative Shabac, Serbia. Sonja Risteska from Аgora Energiewende also welcomed this initiative, which is particularly important for the European future of the energy sector in the country.
Many great positive examples throughout the entire EU enumerate all the benefits of the decentralized approach to implementation of energy transition, coupled by promotion of participatory management and inclusion of the community. Success, nevertheless, depends on the establishment of a legal framework which will enable and facilitate the establishment of energy cooperatives, followed by appropriate instruments such as feed-in tariffs, subsidies, simplified regulations and procedures.
In addition to the energy cooperatives which would be established by installing photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of the municipal public facilities (elementary schools and kindergardens), this study explores the options for establishing energy cooperatives on residential buildings. The residential energy cooperative is a joint venture of residents of one residential building, whose aim is to invest in renewable electricity production system, which most often are photovoltaic systems. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn protects the environment and makes way for financial profits for the residents – cooperants.
In addition to representatives of Karposh municipality, the event was also attended by representatives of the civil society sector, government institutions, the Energy Regulatory Commission, university professors and other experts in the area.
The study is available on the following link.