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Community based initiatives are only in their infancy in Slovakia. Groups of citizens are starting processes of participative municipal budgets and several micro level initiatives, especially in agriculture, are popping up. Cooperatives had a good tradition at the beginning of 20th century, but where compromised during the era of collectivisation and state ownership. In general, most of the population is not very active in satisfying their energy needs relying on centrally provided services.

Leaders in energy production on local scale are rural municipalities (for example in Poľana region) and several more progressive small towns such as Moldava nad Bodvou (Eastern Slovakia). Farmers are taking subsidies for biomass utilisation increase, but this cannot be considered as community driven, because this is rather a classical business investment.

Among chief barriers for community owned and driven energy projects are the lack of capital by municipalities and savings of households. Together with aversion to invest and risk, bad experience with investment schemes in 90’s and still prevailing lack of trust create a problematic environment for development of community energy sector.

Despite this, there is generally raising recognition that the key challenge and opportunity for regions is the development of self-sufficient local economy. Together with the opportunity to access funds provided by the EU budget and channeled into region via financial instruments may increase interest to develop small scale local energy projects. It is expected that local municipalities will play a major role in the pilot phase of community based energy projects.

It is necessary to provide information on working schemes, guidance on how to overcome barriers and solve problems (e.g. access to financial resources). Focus must be placed not only on energy issues in general or on renewables themselves, but also on community building and development of active civil society.

Useful information:

Friends of the Earth Slovakia (in Slovak)

Friends of the Earth-CEPA web with publications and reports on energy work in Slovak regions (in Slovak)

Energy information Portal for municipalities (in  Slovak)

Municipal cooperation in biomass utilisation for heating of public buildings (in English)

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