This is one of the challenges - historically, there has not been a consistent definition for what an energy community comprises. Until a few years ago, they were broadly considered to be a recognised grouping or entity that allows citizens and certain commercial organisations to come together to deliver energy initiatives that benefit the members of a community.
One of the earliest cited European examples was in Italy in the early 1960s where a community was formed around the creation of a hydroelectric scheme. These types of groups continued to form sporadically in the ‘60s and ‘70s but became more numerous in the 1980s with the emergence of community based renewable generation (notably wind) and the provision of local grids for communities who did not have access to the public grid. An example would be the community on the Island of Eigg in Scotland.
While this was the case historically, things have changed recently, notably in Europe.