European Parliament puts its final stamp on new rules to empower citizens energy communities
Brussels, 26 March 2019 – Yesterday the European Parliament voted to approve several pieces of legislation that aim to reorient Europe’s electricity market towards a clean energy transition. This marks the end of the Parliament’s role in finalising the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which includes new rules that establish citizen and community participation in the energy transition as a governing principle of Europe’s internal energy market.
With a new definition of ‘citizens energy communities’, community ownership now has official recognition in European law. Member States will be required to define citizens energy communities, put in place enabling frameworks, and guarantee their right to participate across the market on a level playing field. This means citizens and communities should have an equal and fair opportunity to participate in renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, flexibility and other new markets that can provide services to the energy system.
The new legislation is far from perfect. For instance, there are questions on how to ensure citizens energy communities remain autonomous in their internal decision making from larger energy companies. Furthermore, rights for energy communities to take control of local power networks were significantly watered down, and large energy companies will continue to benefit from fossil fuel subsidies via capacity mechanisms - saddling consumers with additional costs and limiting incentives for citizens to become active.
Dirk Vansintjan, President of REScoop.eu explains: “The Parliament's vote represents a remarkable conclusion to its role in fighting for – and securing – a framework that will go a long ways towards supporting citizen and community ownership in the energy transition.” He continues: “Citizens and communities across Europe are ready to use these new rules to advocate for supportive national regulation so they can make the most of the opportunities they now possess.”
Now all that is left for the council of ministers to vote on the legislation. Once the legislation has been approved, it will be published in the Official EU Journal, and the Member States will need to begin the process of writing the new rules in national law.
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REScoop is the European federation for citizens energy cooperatives. We are a growing network of 1,500 European REScoops and their 1,000,000 citizens who are active in the energy transition. Our members produce and supply renewable energy, operate distribution networks, perform energy efficiency, perform aggregation, engage in energy sharing, and provide electric car-sharing.
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