France

REC/CEC definitions

Overall assesment

France has published an ordinance with provisions on both renewable energy communities and citizen energy communities. There is no attempt to link the two definitions together, nor to join up any of the criteria that differ. The definition does reference a strong standard of Autonomy, which is based in France’s existing company law. An application decree, which is about to be published also elaborates effective control and geographical proximity in detail. One significant distinguishing feature between RECs and CECs is eligibility: for RECs, there are strong restrictions on companies, whereas for the CEC definition it explicitly states that there are no restrictions to participation. This could create a risk that CECs become highjacked by traditional energy sector market actors. For the most part, the definitions are copy-paste of the EU directives. Furthermore, there is no monitoring role assigned to the regulatory authority – this could raise risks of abuse of both the REC and CEC definitions, leading to a lack of trust.

Detailed assesment

Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition

Renewable Energy Communities

  • Open and voluntary are covered
  • Autonomy is covered
  • Geographic proximity is covered
  • Effective control is covered

Citizen Energy Communities

  • Voluntary and open are covered
  • Effective control is covered

Level of detail in the elaboration of principles contained in EU criteria

For Renewable Energy Communities:

  • Autonomy is elaborated in France’s company laws. It represents a strong interpretation of autonomy.
  • Eligibility is limited to companies that do not have participation in energy communities as a main commercial or professional activity
  • Geographical proximity is dealt with in an application decree. For natural persons and SMEs, close proximity is residence or location in the department or a bordering department where the project is being implemented (there are exceptions for departments that do not have more than two neighboring departments). There are also standards made for local authorities and for enterprises with majority ownership (direct and indirect) by local authorities.

For Citizen Energy Communities:

  • Eligibility is open to any type of member or shareholder
  • Explicitly mentions IEMD language on effective control, limiting it to natural persons, local authorities and small enterprises

Effective control is elaborated in detail. To meet this standard, energy communities must meet four conditions.

Clearly defined purpose

Copy-paste of the EU legislation for both definitions.

ICA cooperative governance principles reflected

Yes, to the extent they are included in the EU definition – there is a prohibition on making financial profit one of the main objectives.

Legal entities allowed

A draft application decree elaborates which legal entities are allowed to become energy communities.

Citizen participation is ensured

No.

Designated authority to oversee

No.

Number of definitions

2

Coherency between both definitions

Separate concepts with no articulation about how they relate to each other.