Energy communities will contribute to creating a sustainable energy system in the Republic of Moldova

May 27, 2024

Decision-makers, key actors from the energy sector, development partners, local public authorities, and representatives of civil society gathered on 27 May at a national conference to discuss the potential for implementing energy communities in the Republic of Moldova and to provide legislative recommendations and proposals for public policies to apply this European mechanism to ensure energy security at the local level. The event was organized in Chișinău by UNDP and USAID, in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, with the financial assistance of Sweden and Denmark.

At the beginning of the event, Carolina Novac, Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Moldova, stated: "The main goal of the energy communities is to promote energy autonomy, through own generation of energy at much more advantageous prices, which represents one of the essential mechanisms for increasing the competitiveness of the economy and developing new opportunities and jobs. The Ministry of Energy, responsible for policies in the field, will ensure that the Regulation on energy communities, developed by ANRE, will correspond to the final intention, to have a useful mechanism, understandable by all parties involved and easy to apply. Today's initiative is an excellent example of the synergy between donors, representatives of public institutions, system operators, local public authorities, citizens, and businesses."

Participants in the event were familiarized with new legislative amendments promoting the use of energy from renewable sources, which transpose into local legislation the EU definitions of energy communities, as well as their governance principles, rights, and obligations. The amendments were developed by the Ministry of Energy and were recently approved, with the implementation mechanism for energy communities expected to be finalized by the end of this year. To facilitate this process, UNDP has recently organized a study visit to Austria and Slovenia for representatives of relevant institutions. Thus, they learned from the EU experience regarding implementation of renewable energy initiatives, became familiar with EU legislation on energy communities and collected good practices and viable solutions that could be tested in Moldova.

“Diversification efforts, including the exploration of renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency and endorsement of energy communities, are crucial for enhancing Moldova’s energy security. Between 2022 and 2023, Sweden in partnership with UNDP supported over 50 local projects for municipalities and agri-producers aimed at transitioning to green energy and implementing energy efficiency measures. These projects have yielded significant economic, environmental, and social benefits, particularly during the unfolding energy crisis. By joining forces, community members can reduce their reliance on centralized energy providers, thereby enhancing energy security and resilience,” said Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova.

During the event, the results of the study on potential legal barriers to implementing energy communities in Moldova were presented, an analysis conducted by USAID.

“USAID believes that energy communities can take an active role in the energy transition.  Achieving energy security and environmental sustainability starts with each of us. We’ve partnered with the Ministry of Energy to facilitate the development of energy communities and we are committed to engaging citizens in this transformative process. We hope that the barriers identified, and the recommendations made today by the representatives of the Moldova Energy Security Activity (MESA) project will serve as a robust foundation for subsequent changes to the legal framework. To demonstrate the benefits of energy communities, we will continue our support by launching a pilot energy community through the MESA project, highlighting the necessity and benefits of community-driven initiatives for a successful energy transition,” noted Michael Curtis, USAID Energy Advisor.

The participants at the conference learned about policy recommendations for viable energy communities from renewable energy sources, recently developed by UNDP. The document will serve as a reference for the authorities of the Republic of Moldova in developing the legal framework for the implementation of energy communities.

“Drawing inspiration from European examples, particularly Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and Slovenia, energy communities emerge not just as local energy sources but also as centers of innovation. Here, ideas flourish into concrete actions with communities at the heart of these endeavours. UNDP and partners firmly believe that through collective action and innovative approaches, we can pave the way for an energy landscape in Moldova that is affordable, sustainable, and secure for all citizens,” said Andrea Cuzyova, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in the Republic of Moldova.

During the conference, the European experience regarding the opportunities for implementing energy communities was analyzed, especially the regulatory framework and standards applied in Austria.

“Denmark is proud to have been cooperating with Moldova on green transition and energy efficiency since long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Central for this project with the UNDP is the good partnership with public authorities, the private sector, civil society, and local communities. These partnerships form energy communities that are vital for enabling the sectors to better work together to attract investment in sustainable energy and contribute to the energy security of Moldova,” noted Jasmin Frentzel Sørensen, Deputy Head of Denmark’s Royal Embassy in the Republic of Moldova.

The European approach to energy communities involves setting up local groups of citizens, companies, and local authorities that work together to produce, distribute, and consume renewable energy at the local level. Energy communities not only produce clean energy but also significantly reduce energy bills. They are encouraged by European policies and regulations to promote a sustainable energy transition, achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and create a more sustainable and equitable energy system.