REC/CEC definitions

Overall assesment

Germany has not transposed the definitions of RECs and CECs yet. In fact, there is no legislation specifically targeting energy communities. The latter follow the rules that apply for cooperatives in general under the Cooperatives act and the rules that apply to all market actors for the development of RES projects under the German Renewable Act. The most relevant articles for energy cooperatives in this Act can be found in section 36g, which promotes citizen's energy companies and section 61a para. 4, which predates the RED II and regulates self-consumption (as it is a translation of an old act, it mentions installations of up to 10 kW in there but they are changed to 30kW now). In section 3(15) of the Renewable Act “citizens’ energy company” is defined as every company:

a) which consists of at least ten natural persons who are members eligible to vote or shareholders eligible to vote,

b) in which at least 51 percent of the voting rights are held by natural persons whose main residence has been registered pursuant to Section 21 or Section 22 of the Federal Registration Act for at least one year prior to submission of the bid in the urban or rural district in which the onshore wind energy installation is to be erected,

c) in which no member or shareholder of the undertaking holds more than 10 percent of the voting rights of the undertaking, whereby in the case of an association of several legal persons or unincorporated firms to form an undertaking it is sufficient if each of the members of the undertaking fulfils the preconditions pursuant to letters a to c.

Detailed assesment

Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition

Based on the definition of citizens energy companies, the following terms of the EU definition are reflected to a limited extent:

  • requirement of proximity
  • autonomy
  • effective control.

Open and voluntary participation are not covered

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

There is limited explanation of what these terms mean, but this does not fulfill the requirements of the EU Directives.

Clearly defined purpose


ICA cooperative governance principles reflected

The energy cooperatives that are established following the German Cooperatives Act follow the cooperative principles included there e.g. open and voluntary membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, concern for community etc. However, there is little implicit reference to the ICA principles in the definition of the citizens’ energy companies.

Legal entities allowed

It is not specified which legal entities can set up a citizens energy company.

Citizen participation is ensured

Section 3(15) mentions that citizen energy companies should consist of at least 10 natural persons. However, companies have met this requirement using their own employees.

Designated authority to oversee

No, although the regulator oversees the implementation of the auction process.

Number of definitions

0. There is the definition of citizens’ energy company, which is not in line with the EU definitions.

Coherency between both definitions