1st Plenary Meeting, 17th-18th November 2021, Online
Session 5: The development of RE communities in Members States: European & MS legal and regularity frameworks, transfer of experience.
Four speakers, representing experienced stakeholders or experts on the RE Communities schemes, shared their experience and stimulated further discussion.
A Senior Policy Advisor representing the European association of Energy Cooperatives REScoop.eu, shared his experience and proposals regarding the potential and barriers for RECs uptake, as well as the creation of an enabling framework for their development at EU level. He recommended that Member States should enable their framework by exercising Strategic Planning in order to provide carefully designed incentives to support for grid connection & administrative issues, while they should also address the regulatory barriers and promote inclusiveness.
An expert from Th!nkE group and coordinator of H2020 DECIDE project, presented a ‘basic observation and findings list for RECs development’. She referenced the strategic directions that we need to follow, especially, in the analysis of costs and benefits, the assessment of energy cost reduction, the need for grid infrastructure, the importance of good communication and the deep understanding of energy poverty. She proposed that business models that provide realistic replicability potential should promoted.
An expert from the Irish Department for Environment, Climate and Communications, presented the the Irish Support Scheme and RED II Enabling Framework for Renewable Energy Communities. He outlined the national commitments for RECs as well as the four pillars of the supporting operating framework, i.e. the definition of a specific ‘community category’ so as RECs do not compete with traditional market actors, the specific enabling framework, the community benefit fund and the specific investment opportunities that are provided by the scheme.
An expert from the Austrian Coordination Body for energy communities provided information on the existing framework for RECs in Austria and presented the experience of the ‘one-stop-shop’ structure that has been established in 2021. Its tasks include the Provision of quality-assured Information, the support for Projects and the communication with stakeholders.
Session 11: Addressing the future of RE Communities. Analysis of existing barriers and potential of RE Communities development
This session aimed at the analysis of existing barriers and potential of RE Communities development. During that session, experts discussed on assessment of enabling policies and measures as well as the identified barriers.
The CT6 leader issued a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by national representatives. The questionnaire aimed to profile the development status of RECs and Article 22 transposition in each Member State, by collecting information regarding, the national legislative framework, the transposition status, the national targets set so far, the identified barriers as well as the procedures for their assessment, the requirements of information exchange, and the legislative issues that need to be further clarified.
A policy expert from DG ENER, presented the European framework for Energy communities and analysed the purpose and the existing legal models for energy communities. She clarified also the classification into Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) and Citizens Energy Communities (CECs) the implementation pathways including ‘proximity’ issues and the advisory and support mechanisms offered by the Commission. The policy expert expressed the RES policy priorities of EU by emphasising the need for proper transposition of RED II into the national framework.
IDAE (Spain) and CRES (Greece), presented the national experience from Spain and Greece respectively, providing the opportunity to dive into the national experience and current activities.
Finally, a ‘Round table’ discussion among the participants followed the presentations, while the sessionended by giving to the participants the opportunity to vote on the most important barriers for RECs uptake.
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2nd Plenary Meeting, 18th-19th May 2022, Online
Session 6: Transposition of Article 21 'Renewable Self-Consumers'. Legal interception and share of experience on the enabling frameworks put in place among Member States.
Article 21 of the RED II requires a reliable, transparent and supportive legal and regulatory framework that allows all final consumers to generate, store and sell self-generated electricity to promote and implement self-consumption.
During the session, participants have overviewed important transposition issues for Article 21 and discussed main barriers that need to be overcome.
The CT6 leader issued a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by CA-RES contact points and representatives. The questionnaire aimed to assess the main topics for the establishment of a robust enabling framework for self – consumption in each MS.
A speaker – senior researcher in this field – introduced the participants to the state of the art in self – consumption business models and frameworks with special emphasis in energy sharing.
Two invited speakers, from France and Portugal presented their national experience in detail by analysing the prospects for self-consumption, the legal framework, the promotional measures and the obstacles for further development.
The participants then broke into three separate discussion rooms in order to discuss upon the 3 following topics selected by voting.
Monitoring implementation & exchange of information. They concluded that there is a need for practicing common reporting and statistics as well as exchange of information on policy information.
Enumeration of main barriers for the implementation of Art 21. The participants identified, so far, the adjustment of existing regulatory schemes, the taxation on excess energy injected into the grid and the slow pace in smart meters deployment and storage specifications.
Supporting schemes & incentives. The discussion focused on net billing, tax rebate, investment assistance, the remuneration of excess energy, net metering and the introduction of GOs.
Finally the participants concluded the main challenges for the effective creation of enabling policies. These include, indicatively, the introduction of energy sharing schemes (jointly acting consumers) and the targeting of best complementarity of self – consumption policies with those for the Energy Performance of Buildings.
Session 12: 'Renewable Energy Communities'. Legal challenges for the transposition of Article 22 of RED and exchange of experience on supporting policies and measures on 'Renwable Energy Communities'.
During this session, participants had a close insight of legal challenges for the transposition of article 22, focused on the legal interpretation in each Member State.
The CT6 leader issued a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by national representatives. The questionnaire aimed to profile the development status of the Article 22 transposition in each Member State, and raise the most important issues for its legal interpretation.
Three experts presented two ambitious initiatives supported by the European Commission. The Rural Energy Communities Advisory Hub, and the Energy Communities Repository.
The Energy Communities Repository will support the development of Energy Communities by collecting and analysing data, providing technical assistance, creating communication channels, exploring best practices and creating a toolbox for Renewable Energy Communities development.
Mission of the Rural Energy Communities Advisory Hub is to empower the development of energy communities in rural areas, by providing technical assistance, by identifying and sharing best practices and by providing network opportunities to local stakeholders
The participants then broke into three separate discussion rooms to discuss the most important topics related to the legal interpretation of art 22. These topics, as selected by vote, were:
The definition of profits and benefits from RECs. The participants explored proposals that may ensure RECs nature, by providing services to members and benefits the local society as well as participating in the energy market under a moderated environment.
The opening of RECs to low-income or vulnerable households, where participants concluded that the involvement of local authorities- municipalities as well as the support by national schemes is essential.
The definition of proximity of members to REC’s projects, where participants explored the different approaches followed by member states by using administrative or electricity grid oriented rules.
Finally, a ‘Round table’ discussion among the participants and a Q&A session followed. The session ended by giving to the participants the opportunity to vote on the priority topics that may be introduced in the next plenary meeting.
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3rd Plenary Meeting, 09th-10th November 2022, Athens, Greece
Session 6: Lifting the barriers for self consumption - contribution to RePowerEU
The acceleration of the rollout of RES, is an important priority of the RePowerEU plan. Focused on this mission, the ‘EU Solar Energy strategy’ determines that the rapid development of small and building integrated RES applications may exploit a huge RES potential and strengthen Europe’s energy independence.
Self-consumption provides European citizens with autonomy to produce their own energy either individually or collectively and protects them from the volatility of fuel prices, therefore, the operation of an enabling framework for self- consumption, as described in article 21 of RED is of great importance for European Energy policy.
The session opened with the presentation of RePowerEU ‘Solar Energy Strategy’ proposals by a European Commission officer, giving the opportunity to all participants to discuss in detail the main priorities of the this European policy in the field and assess the requirements for their urgent implementation.
The CT6 leader followed, by issuing a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by CA-RES4 national contact points in each Member State. The questionnaire aimed at monitoring the developments for the establishment of a robust enabling framework for self – consumption, focusing on the policy targets, the legal and regulatory framework for collective self-consumption as well as the identification of the non -technical barriers.
An invited speaker, from the Greek Distribution System Operator (DSO) introduced the participants to the main obstacles faced by the DSOs in the process of vast expansion of self- consumption systems. Participants discussed the main barriers for the integration of self -consumption into the grid. Discussion concluded on the need for acceleration of the communication between DSOs and policy makers as well as the rapid expansion of the grid infrastructure required for distributed generation integration.
The participants then broke into discussion groups in order to exchange ideas & proposals for the ‘Immediate actions required for the acceleration of self consumption deployment’. The online participants used project’s online tool as virtual board in order to post their proposals.
The main outcomes from discussion tables and the virtual board were:
- There is a need to subsidise actively small storage facilities in order to facilitate integration into the grid.
- The implementation of measures that integrate efforts on a building level including the installation of Roof-top PVs, Energy Efficiency improvements and installation of storage systems are required.
- Creation of a clear legislative framework for roof top systems ownership, is essential in order to avoid bottlenecks and accelerate permitting procedures.
- Actions to decrease the administrative barriers need to be planned.
- New market rules including the dynamic and proportional pricing, need to be practiced inside the energy market.
- Improvements on the permitting procedures for prosumers of the same building. Creation of One-Stop-Shops and training programmes to improve systems installers qualifications will accelerate new systems installation.
Session 12: Renewable Energy Communities - Creation of an effective supporting frameworl - Contribution of RECs in energy poverty alleviation
During this session, participants had a close insight of challenges for the transposition of article 22, focused on both, the legal interpretation as well as the creation of a supporting framework in each Member State.
The specific discussion topics for this session were:
- The contribution of RECs in ‘EU Solar Strategy’ and the presentation of European Initiatives and projects
- The contribution of Renewable Energy Communities in energy poverty alleviation and the presentation of best practices
- The investigation of the main barriers for RECs deployment acceleration.
The CT6 leader issued a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by national representatives. The questionnaire aimed to profile the development status of Article 22 transposition in each Member State, and raise the most important barriers. Specific questions for the contribution of RECs in energy poverty alleviation stimulated the discussion that followed.
An officer from the European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) presented the outcomes of significant projects supporting the promotion of RECs funded by LIFE & Horizon 2020 programmes where ‘involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition’ is among their basic priorities. These projects facilitate the exchange of experience and provide best practices and innovative ideas for the implementation of RECs in all member states.
Following this discussion, a European expert presented the experience, the practices and the business models used so far, by innovative efforts undertaken by existing RECs aiming to support for energy poverty alleviation. The four models introduced were:
- Provide a share in the Energy Community for vulnerable consumers.
- Sharing the RES electricity produced by energy communities with vulnerable communities in the nearby.
- Providing energy savings improvements and advices to vulnerable consumers by RECs.
- Adoption of a donation & solidarity model among energy community members.
The participants then broke into three separate discussion tables in order to discuss their experience, ideas and proposals to strengthen the role of RECs in energy poverty alleviation.
The three discussion tables, together with on-line participants who posted their ideas on project’s online tool (used as virtual board), discussed on the following questions:
- How vulnerable consumer citizens could be engaged in RECs?
- How REC activities, services and profits, could best support vulnerable groups?
- What are the groups that need our special attention and require further actions for their engagement?
Finally, all participants concluded on three policy priorities that need to be further promoted. The immediate alignment of national policies with ‘RePowerEU Solar Strategy’, is a necessary step that would provide the policy background for the acceleration of RECs deployment efforts. The promotion of RECs actions to support vulnerable consumers is essential for the strengthening of their role as actors working for local development, social cohesion and RES acceptability, while, the lifting of barriers for the active involvement of local municipalities in REC creation and operation will provide robust support for their operation.
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4th Plenary Meeting, 24th-25th May 2023, Vienna
Session 6: Integration of self-consumption into the electricity grid. (Article 21)
The session opened by the CT6 leader who presented a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by CA-RES national experts. The questionnaire aimed at monitoring the developments in self consumption, in view of new national policies implemented. Information on the level of communication between DSO’s and self-consumers was also gathered giving useful input on the interplay between self-consumers and the electricity grid.
An invited policy advisor from ‘SolarPowerEurope‘ introduced the participants to the main challenges that are faced by self-consumption in terms of integration in the electricity market and the active involvement of DSO’s. Among them, the permitting procedures, the integration of storage and the promotion of schemes for jointly acting consumers are the most important. On the other hand the grid integration has become a significant challenge. This challenge will be even bigger when the electricity generated by the solar and wind systems outruns the grid operator’s efforts.
A DG ENER policy officer presented the basic points of Council Regulation 2022/2057 to speed up the deployment of renewable energy market. The regulation is valid for 18 months and focuses on specific RES technologies/types of projects (including for self consumption) to achieve short term acceleration.
The participants then broke into discussion groups in order to exchange ideas & proposals
The main outcomes of the discussion were:
- Monitoring tools and registries need to be in place for the support of new policies formulation. Monitoring of targets set in NECP is also required.
- Measures for the promotion of self consumption need to be coupled with measures for the promotion of RES electrification at a building level.
- Long term planning of the schemes for the promotion of self consumption is required. Switching to new schemes would freeze the market for a long period.
- Since the “net metering” scheme is being phased out, incentivizing the price for the excess electricity injected into the grid is the most promising solution.
- Policy measures for promoting the self consumption need to include storage.
- Regulators and public authorities, need to take into account that self consumption schemes are targeted mainly to citizens and SMEs and not to ordinary market players. Simplification of administrative procedures and provision of information is strongly required
Session 12: Methodologies for Barriers Assessment. Exchange of experience for the involvement of municipalities in RECs (Article 22)
In the beginning of the session CT6 leader issued a short analysis of the responses to the questionnaire filled by national representatives. The questionnaire aimed to profile the rate of development of RECs, to explore the monitoring procedures & mechanisms and investigate the main barriers for the involvement of municipalities.
A policy advisor from RESCoop, the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives, presented important topics for the implementation of a REC enabling framework. He proposed a methodology for the assessment of barriers and potential for RECs at the national level, he shared experiences about the challenges faced by local authorities in supporting/participating RECs, and he proposed ideas for state control of energy communities (registration, monitoring and oversight …)
A member of ‘SHARES’ project team presented its main outcome, which is a ‘blueprint for One-Stop-Shops for energy communities’. The SHARES project has been supported by Horizon 2020 and is coordinated by the Austrian Energy Agency.
An officer from CINEA, provided a short overview of the European Energy Communities Facility, supported by LIFE programme. The facility will offer support services, including financial support to third parties, to develop business plans to grow and implement sustainable energy community projects.
The participants then broke into two discussion groups in order to exchange ideas and proposals on two selected topics i.e. the Role of Local Authorities for the support of RECs deployment and the Administrative Procedures for the set up and operation of RECs.
The key outcomes of the discussion were:
- Adequate registration processes are required for RECs in order to monitor the policy implementation and mapping the needs for REC members.
- Long term stability of the legislative framework is required. Time is required for any changes to be prepared, implemented and communicated to the different stakeholders.
- Municipalities would play a significant role in RECs deployment in countries that are currently at an early stage, either by participating at local supporting structures or by participating in RECs and implementing pilot projects.
- Municipalities’ involvement in RECs is essential for the implementation of projects that contribute to the mitigation of energy poverty as well as projects developed in areas with cultural heritage or high environmental sensitivity.
- Municipalities need support for their engagement in RECs by being provided with technical expertise, financial resources and by overcoming barriers linked with their membership as shareholders.
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