Updated December 2022
Italy adopted a first set of transitional rules in 2020 on RECs through the Article 42-bis of the Law 8/2020 allowing REC members to share energy under the same low voltage distribution substation. The size of each powerplant a REC can own was initially set up at 200 kW and then increased to 1 MW with the legislative decree 199/2021. CECs has been defined through the Decree 210/2021. Both definitions are similar and enjoy benefits from the same rights, although the sector of RECs is renewable energy, while CEC are limited to electricity. Their rights and enabling frameworks correspond to those of the Directives. Implementing acts from ARERA (Independent Energy Authority) and the Ministry are expected by the end of 2022 and should clarify further the applicable framework. After the establishment of a national regulatory framework in 2020, several regions developed their own framework for energy communities, which addresses some specific local issues while remaining within the context established by national legislation.
Overall, the transposition of the enabling framework for RECs is progressed and there are specific measures for RECs introduced in the national support scheme for renewables. However, an assessment of barriers and potential for the development of energy communities is still missing.
Assessment of obstacles and potential for development of ECs
ARERA is the responsible body to do such an assessment for RECs and CECs. It is not clear whether this assessment been undertaken yet.
Removal of unjustified regulatory & administrative barriers
The law specifies that ARERA should monitor the removal of the unjustified obstacles and restrictions to the development of self-consumption and CEC according to article 24 of DL210. Not all the barriers have been already removed, for example the administrative procedure to register a REC on the GSE (Energy System Manager) web portal is complex and requires to input a lot of data, which represents a burden for RECs' representatives, as excessive time is needed to collect all the data.
DSO duties around cooperation with ECs and facilitation of energy sharing
ARERA should adopt the necessary measures so that the DSOs and the TSO (Terna) cooperate to allow, to the extent possible in a simplified manner, the implementation of the provisions on energy sharing. In particular, DSOs are invited to make available the perimeter of the medium voltage sub-station under which an energy community shares energy, according to Article 32 b) of DL 199 and article 14 of DL210. The ministry will enact rules ensuring the DSOs and the TSO cooperate for the development of ECs and active consumers, including for energy sharing and participation in market for energy services. GSE will monitor the development of this ECs and active consumption schemes. In particular, GSE should predict the evolution of electricity for which tariffs and levies are applicable according to the development of this trends and the overall need of financing the energy system.
Fair, proportionate, and transparent registration & licensing procedures
There are agreements to be signed and technical rules to be fulfilled in order for initiatives to be registered and recognized as a REC. A barrier is that there are no fixed maximum days to receive formal approval from GSE to sign the contract.
Incentives connected to network tariffs based on a CBA
According to article 42-bis paragraph 9, confirmed in the DL 199, a premium tariff is envisaged to support energy sharing and storage, and will be paid by GSE. Installations under 1MW owned by REC or participating in CSC operation are eligible. This dedicated premium tariff is granted to consumers only for the share of energy which is simultaneously (on hourly basis) produced and consumed under the same primary grid station (medium voltage).
Non-discriminatory treatment as market participant
In article 14(10) of the legislative decree for CECs it is mentioned that ARERA should adopt measures, among which is to ensure that CECs can participate in all markets for electricity, directly or through an aggregator, in a non-discriminatory way.
Accessibility to low-income & vulnerable households
Art 31,1 d) Legislative Decree 199/2021 states that participation in RECs is open to all consumers, including low income or vulnerable households. Also, Article 11(7) of the legislative decree for CECs makes a reference to vulnerable consumers and specifies that the local authorities that participate in CECs should adopt initiatives to promote participation in the communities of vulnerable customers, so that the latter can access the environmental, economic and social benefits ensured by the community itself.
Tools to access finance
The Ministry provides information on how to access finance. Article 14 of Legislative Decree 199 defines the specific coordination criteria amongst the measurements introduced by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and the instruments for sectoral incentives. In particular, paragraph e) specifies that “in implementation of the measures Mission 2, Component 2, Investment 1.2 “Promotion of renewables for community’s energy and self-consumption " criteria and methods are defined for granting financing interest-free up to 100% of eligible costs, for the development of the energy community, as well as defined in Article 31, in small municipalities through the construction of RES production plants, also combined with energy storage systems. The same ministerial decree will define the conditions for cumulation with the tariff incentives referred to in Article 8 of this legislative decree.
Tools to access information
GSE is the responsible body to provide information, awareness-raising, guidance or training to inform citizens of how to exercise rights, and benefits of, developing and using renewable energy though a renewable energy community.
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
Form of support for community production projects
Power plants up to 1 MW owned by an EC or included in a collective self-consumption (CSC) setting can access a specific premium tariff paid by GSE, aimed to incentivize the real time self-consumption rate. According to DLgs 199/2021, the premium tariff is awarded only to the electricity produced and consumed under the same medium voltage station. The incentive is awarded directly, with a request to be made at the installation.
Overall according to the provisional scheme (L 8/2020), with reference to electricity production and sharing, RECs are eligible for support of up to around169€/MWh, composed of:
- premium tariff of 110 € / MWh on real-time shared energy for 20 years.
- The return of approximately € 9 / MWh on shared energy for the electricity system benefits it provides for 20 years
- Revenue of approx. 60 € / MWh for the whole renewable electricity production (withdrawn by GSE), which can change based on the average national electricity market price.
The Ministry should adopt soon a decree to set the new premium tariff and clarify the transition rules from the provisional scheme (L 8/2020) to the final REDII implementation (DLgl 199/2021). RECs, also those controlled by local authorities, are eligible for support schemes for renewable heating, provided that their production is not supported elsewhere according to Article 10 of the DLgs 199/2021. RECs are also supported through public loans without interest rate thanks to the Italian Recovery Plan. A programme of € 2,2 billion should finance energy communities promoted by small municipalities (up to 5.000 inhabitants) and CSC and support them to produce up to 2.500 Gwh per year.
In Italy, each region can develop specific accompanying support measures for RECs via regional laws connected to national scenarios (for example, some regions like Campania and Sicilia awarded some funds to cover the costs of feasibility studies or legal consultancy) and regions can also co-fund activities via the Structural Fund (for example in Lombardia Region).
RECs taken into account when designing eligibility/participation requirements
REC are eligible to participate in tendering according to DL 199. RECs have been identified as stakeholders for a bottom-up approach on RES-E implementation in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.