The Expert Mission was delivered from the 1th to 3rd October with the Aegean Energy and Environment Agency (hhttp://www.aegean-energy.gr/en/) - AEGEA. AEGEA has been established since 2008 but most of the activities were re-stared in 2016/2017. Today they operate from the office in Athens and with a staff of 12 members covers most of Greek islands but with an ambition to spread their activities on a national level. Formal founder and the main supporter of the agency is DAFNI Network of Sustainable Greek Islands which is a non-profit organization established in 2006 to create opportunities and support initiatives towards the sustainable development of Greek islands.
The intensive expert mission (3 days) was delivered by Dr Julije Domac with support from Mr Ivan Przulj and the main aim was to help AEGEA to build energy agency capacity in designing and implementing sustainable energy projects but also to make sure that grow is based on a sustainable business model. The mission was consisted of following activities:
- First day started with a meeting between the experts and Mr Kostas Komninos and Ms Alkisti Florou (AEGEA management team). The meeting focused on AEGEA's structure and service portfolio, having in mind new financing instruments and investment models being crafted for the post-2020 programming period.
- First half of the second day coincided with the Economist conference 2nd Sustainability Summit for SEE & the Mediterranean where Julije Domac was invited to speak and highlighted the role of energy agencies as drivers and delivery agents of the energy transition in South-East Europe. In the afternoon, a meeting took place between AEGEA, the experts and the Ministry for Environment and Energy. Discussion revolved around the need to strengthen the role of local and regional agencies as facilitators of the energy transition, especially in topics like the aggregation of small-scale projects, the uptake of EPC and establishment of energy communities.
- The last day was dedicated to knowledge-transfer and vision-making exercises with the whole of the AEGEA team. Following a presentation about ManagEnergy and Fedarene, and an overview of both REGEA and AEGEA projects and services, participants had the opportunity to exchange information on preparing successful ELENA/PDA bids on street lighting and buildings' retrofitting and brainstorm on future joint projects around electro-mobility, energy efficiency and more.
Some of the most important recommendations given by the vising experts to the host agency:
The Agency is positioned well with a broad political support from members of the DAFNI Network (40 Island Municipalities, 1 Regional Union of Island Municipalities and 3 Regions of the Aegean Sea), it is important to maintain and develop this mutually useful cooperation. Linkage with regions and regional governments is suggested for the future to further position the Agency;
Further areas of activities related to sustainable energy investments of the agency should be focused on:
o PDA project on aggregation of energy efficiency projects (street lightning, public buildings and e-mobility),
o PDA project on biomass exploitation in insular areas,
o Project on enabling e-mobility investments in islands.
The Agency team is young and rich in various expertise, it was good to see a very high level of enthusiasm. It will be important to develop organisational structure and management skills within the Agency to ensure long-term and sustainable growth.