Austria’s Electricity Act and Renewables Energy Expansion Law covers both RECs and CECs. Voluntary and open participation are covered, but they do not provide any more detail than that of the RED II. The REC definition does not address autonomy. As such the definition has not been properly transposed. The REC definition does limit eligibility to geographical proximity. For CECs, control is limited to certain actors, although it is never fully defined. As such, the definitions lack detail regarding relevant governance principles Nevertheless, the definition does forbid companies that focus on energy communities from being eligible to participate as a member. Overall, the draft provisions on RECs focus mainly on specification of technical aspects rather than social organizational aspects. An authority has been designated to oversee compliance with the REC criteria. Overall, Austria might receive an average grade. However, due to little attention towards the governance principles, and by not mentioning autonomy at all, the Austrian definition still suffers from substantial defects.
Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition
- Voluntary and open are covered
- In order to be eligible, private companies should not have participation in the energy community as part of their main commercial/professional activity
- Autonomy is not covered in the REC definition, signifying an improper transposition.
- Geographical proximity is defined (although through two technical descriptors which appear to be designed for energy sharing)
Level of detail in the elaboration of principles contained in EU criteria
For Renewable Energy Communities:
- Must consist of two or more members/partners
- Participation cannot make up a private company’s main commercial or professional activity
- Autonomy is not covered, and there is no further detail in the governance principles that have been covered
- While RECs can act across the energy system, geographical proximity seems to be designed around the activity of energy sharing
- Eligibility is based on physical proximity, defined as: the consumption systems of the members or shareholders must be connected to the generation systems via a low-voltage distribution network and the low-voltage part of the transformer station (local area) or via the medium-voltage network and the medium-voltage busbar in the transformer station (regional area) in the concession area of a Network operator.
For Citizen Energy Communities:
- Must consist of two or more members
- Control limited to natural people, local authorities and small companies provided that they do not perform the function of an electricity company
Clearly defined purpose
Explicitly states that the main purpose must not be financial gain. The articles of association must record this, unless it already uses a legal form that results in this. They should bring primarily ecological, economic or social benefits.
ICA cooperative governance principles reflected
Legal entities allowed
Associations, cooperatives, partnerships, corporations or similar associations with legal personality.
Citizen participation is ensured
Designated authority to oversee
For the purpose of random or case-by-case checking of compliance with legal requirements by the regulatory authority, energy communities must provide data upon request. The regulator can deal with non-compliance. Furthermore, the regulatory authority must publish an annual report on the number and regional distribution of energy communities.
Number of definitions
Coherency between both definitions
No explicit connections are made between the two definitions, although there are common provisions between the two, particularly relating to network obligations.