Interview with Zoran Kordić, Co-Founder of the Croatian energy cooperative Zelena energetska zadruga (ZEZ).
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According to you, what are the main challenges faced by local players when implementing energy transition projects?
The energy sector is still strongly tied to fossil fuels, and it makes it hard for clean energy actors to develop. It is deplorable that national targets for climate and energy are not aligned with the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, nor following the recommendations to be found in the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There is also a need for stronger support and for an enabling framework for community energy projects and for reconnecting energy transition projects to local communities.
How does working with a cooperative can help face those challenges?
Cooperatives can be platforms that connect investors to energy transition projects. They contribute to bringing forward change in citizens’ behaviour and have a role to play in policy development by providing recommendations from the ground.
Covenant signatory city Križevci led the first crowdfunding project for renewable energy in Croatia. How did the Green Energy Cooperative (ZEZ) support the city in this project?
Thanks to the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Compile project, ZEZ was able to kick-start the implementation of solar panels on public buildings’ roofs. This contributes to achieving one of the objectives of the local governance agenda: making Križevci energy self-sufficient by 2030.
In general, how would you describe your experience leading energy transition projects with local authorities in Croatia?
Our experience working with local authorities is mostly positive! Most cities recognize the positive outcomes of such projects and show much more interest in bridging the gap between citizens and energy projects than any other level of government does.
How was citizen participation received in Križevci? Did other stakeholders express interest towards such innovative financing schemes?
Citizen interest for investment was way higher than expected. Our latest campaign was got fully funded within only 48 hours and we managed to raise 5 times more interest than what we needed. Citizen have shown strong interest in investing in energy transition projects.
This interview was initially eclusive to the Covenant of Mayors newsletter.
© image Inia Herenčić