EU negotiators reached agreement Monday evening (12 November) on a legal framework for “citizen energy communities” in a deal solar PV manufacturers hailed as a victory for small-scale renewable energy production.
The deal on energy communities was reached during negotiations on the reform of the EU’s electricity market directive, said Florent Marcellesi, a Spanish lawmaker from the Green party who was in the European Parliament’s delegation at the talks.
“Member states shall treat citizen energy communities in a proportionate manner and guarantee the right to energy sharing,” Marcellesi told EURACTIV in emailed comments after the talks, which took place behind closed doors at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
There are currently around 3,000 energy communities across Europe, according to REScoop.eu, the European federation for renewable energy cooperatives.
The European Commission estimates that by 2030, more than 50 GW of wind and more than 50 GW of solar could be owned by energy communities, representing 17% and 21% of installed capacity, respectively.
Key elements of the deal includes the possibility for energy communities – located in the same building or neighbourhood – to own, rent or purchase their own electricity distribution network, according to people familiar with the matter. Network charges will by default not apply when electricity is consumed on location, for example in the same building or complex.
Network ownership will be subject to approval from national authorities, however. This was a concession made to member states which have a monopoly in the management of distribution networks, like Enedis in France.
But when network charges do apply, they will have to be defined according to a transparent cost-benefit analysis, performed under regulatory supervision and taking into account the positive effect of distributed generation, said people involved in the talks.
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