by Chris Vrettos, founding member of Hyperion Energy Community and works for Electra Energy Cooperative in various projects seeking to expand citizen participation in clean energy production in Greece.
People around the world excitedly welcomed 2021, eager to leave the ‘horrible year’ of 2020 behind. The overlapping crises we faced the past year, like the pandemic, extreme weather events, and the widening gap in socioeconomic equality, are not ‘random’ events we can attribute to an ‘unlucky’ year. They are the logical consequences of a system built to favor a few over people and planet. People are increasingly questioning this system and are seeking bottom-up, self-organized alternatives.
This is what brought Hyperion’s members together: a need to challenge the centralized, fossil-based energy system, whilst trying to deliver socio-ecological goals beyond simple profit-making. Hyperion is a Not-For-Profit energy community and our first project will be the creation of a 60 KW solar park in a region of Central Greece that will be implemented this year. Having overcome some significant barriers, we’ve managed to create a close-knit community of 30 members from various backgrounds with their own equity of €20.000, all ready to ‘get their hands dirty’ and be agents of change.
The benefits that Hyperion members will enjoy are multiple: an immediate, practical change is the significant reduction in energy bills through net-metering (which will be close to zero, once all loans are paid off). This is especially important in Greece, where a large portion of households faces energy poverty. Through continuous education and participatory decision-making, members will become increasingly familiarized with cooperative principles, as well as a broad range of socio-technical issues. Our first and primary activity will be energy production (and self-consumption), but our aim is to expand to areas like energy efficiency, e-mobility, distribution, storage and more!
We will be using our financial surplus to provide free electricity to energy-poor households, as well as to expand our reach to new audiences through educational campaigns. We want Hyperion to empower other energy communities, by openly sharing our tools, knowledge and resources with others. Through strategic organizing and networking with other energy communities across the country, our aim is to advocate for political change, in line with our vision of clean energy as a common good that should be available to all.
Regardless of whether your intention is to offset your carbon footprint, to make some profit, or anything else, one thing is certain; by investing in Hyperion, you are contributing to grassroots, meaningful change that will directly impact the lives of many people and the environment.
Let’s not allow the crises of 2020 to paralyze us. Let’s make this a year of action. Join us!