Overall assessment

Updated December 2022

Brussels has passed legislation intending to transpose EU legislation on RECs and CECs. However, this legislation does not cover most elements from the enabling framework that must be addressed. There is as basic legal framework to enable energy sharing, although further details are still forthcoming. An NGO, Energie Commune, has also been tasked by the government to provide information and advice. A process for registering and overseeing energy communities has also been created. As for an official enabling framework, Brussels Environment has been given the duty to perform an assessment of potential and barriers to the development of energy communities by the end of 2023. However, there is no official follow up that has been articulated.

Detailed assessment

Assessment of obstacles and potential for development of ECs

Brussels Environment must publish, by 31 December 2023, a study on the potential, development and operation of energy communities, including any unjustified obstacles and restrictions to their development, in consultation with Brugel. Although this is quite late, it will provide an opportunity to assess how initial efforts to establish a framework for energy communities are progressing.

Removal of unjustified regulatory & administrative barriers

No supplier license required for energy communities for sharing electricity between members. However, it must be balancing responsible, or delegate the responsibility to a third party.

DSO duties around cooperation with ECs and facilitation of energy sharing

Electricity sharing is defined, and the duties for DSOs are somewhat developed in the legislation, and more detailed regulations have been adopted. DSOs have a duty to provide an online tool allowing for participants in energy sharing to access their information, including metering data. The energy community has a duty to notify/register with the DSO before it commences its energy sharing activities. The DSO also has a duty to notify the supplier(s) of the members of the energy community.

Fair, proportionate, and transparent registration & licensing procedures

Registration is required to be considered an energy community. This designation must be approved by the Regulator, Brugel. To do this the energy community must submit an application form, and its articles of association or other constitutive documents (which also has minimal requirements to ensure compliance with participative and governance criteria). A decision must be provided within 60 days. The process is simple enough, and net it ensures that energy communities are really based on organizational principles, and that they are respected. This should help reinforce trust amongst citizens who might be interested in joining or setting up an energy community.

Incentives connected to network tariffs based on a CBA

Legislation sets out that the tariff structure must promote the sharing of electricity from renewable energy sources, taking into account the structure of the existing distribution network, while also ensuring a balance between solidarity in covering the overall costs of the networks as well as the contribution to taxes, charges, surcharges, fees. It also calls for a cost benefit analysis to inform the development of tariffs for participants in an energy community that share electricity. This implies that incentives for energy sharing are possible, but it also allows additional charges to be added. In October 2022, the DSO approved tariffs, which include minimal incentives for shared electricity (over a 15 minute period) within buildings and under the low voltage network.

Brugel is currently conducting a cost-benefit analysis of a tariff structure for electricity sharing, which should be published in the first semester of 2023.

Non-discriminatory treatment as market participant

Access to the electricity market shall be non-discriminatory. There are no details however, of why non-discrimination should be ensured for energy communities.

Accessibility to low-income & vulnerable households

There are no supportive policies or measures to promote participation in energy communities by low-income and vulnerable households. However, Energie Commune, as a facilitator, will organize a workshop focused on how to undertake energy sharing in social housing.

Tools to access finance

A number of lending support programmes have been put in place to promote the growth of energy communities:

Tools to access information

The Brussels-Capital Region offers a free service through Energie Commune, as a designated Facilitator organization, dedicated to project promoters in order to obtain technical, economic, legal or administrative advice and tools.

Regulatory capacity building for public authorities

As a Facilitator, one of Energie Commune’s aims is to support local authorities. It will publish a guide for municipalities and organize a workshop to explore the issue with municipalities.

NECP reporting on enabling frameworks

Not addressed in the transposition. Member States are required via the Governance Regulation (2018/1999) to report on their enabling frameworks for RECs by 15 March 2023.

Support Scheme adapted for RECs

RECs, along with other market actors, have access to the Green Certificates Scheme for production that is exported to the grid. This is ideal for creating a revenue stream for the community for electricity that is not consumed by the community, so that it can invest back into the communities activities and objectives.