Italy has transposed the REC definition with legislative decree 199/08. 11.2021 and the CEC definition with the legislative decree 210/08.11.2021. The RECs definition refers to most of the criteria contained in the RED II definition, including autonomy and effective control, which were not touched upon in previous legislation. It stands side-by-side with the collective self-consumption definition, presuming an inherent technology focus for RECs, which may limit their ability to operate across the energy system. The new legislation increased the previous cap on capacity, which now cannot exceed 1MW for each REC’s plant. Also, the geographical proximity has been changed with the new legislation and has been defined as consumption points connected under the same medium voltage station.
The CEC definition touches upon the open and voluntary membership and effective control, the different activities that they can undertake, while the law states that CECs can take any legal form, as long as it is clearly stated that the main aim of the community is to bring environmental, social and economic benefits at the local community where they operate, as financial profits cannot be the main aim of the community (article 14(6)). There is an expectation that the criteria that have been included in the decrees will be further specified in by-laws, for instance the requirement of proximity and the autonomy criteria.
Interestingly, both REC and CEC provisions explicitly promote inclusiveness by mentioning the need to ensure participation is open to low-income or vulnerable households.
Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition
- Autonomy and effective control are covered (the community is a legal entity and the exercise of control powers is headed exclusively by natural persons, SMEs, local authorities, including municipalities, research and training entities, religious entities, third sector and environmental protection associations as well as local administrations included in the list of public administrations published by the National Institute of Statistics - ISTAT)
- Openness and voluntary are covered
- Open and voluntary participation are covered
- Effective control by members (natural persons, small businesses, local authorities, including municipal administrations, research and training bodies, third sector and environmental protection bodies, religious bodies, as well as administration premises contained in the list of public administrations)
Level of detail in the elaboration of principles contained in EU criteria
- Geographical proximity for RECs: the citizens connected under the same medium voltage station can be members of a REC and share the renewable energy produced by the REC's plants
- Eligibility for RECs: Prevents participation of companies in case the participation in RECs constitutes their main commercial or industrial activity
- Still some of the principles should be further clarified, especially autonomy for RECs
Clearly defined purpose
It is mentioned in both legislative decrees that RECs and CECs should have as their main purpose to provide environmental, economic or social benefits to members/shareholders or local communities, rather than financial profits - fits EU definition but does not go further
ICA cooperative governance principles reflected
- Covers autonomy for RECs
- Open and voluntary membership
- Covers inclusiveness by explicitly mentioning the need to make sure participation is open to low-income or vulnerable households for RECs and CECs
Legal entities allowed
Natural persons, SMEs, local authorities, including municipalities, research and training entities, religious entities, third sector and environmental protection associations as well as local administrations.
Citizen participation is ensured
Article 11(7) of the legislative decree for CECs makes a reference to vulnerable consumers and specifies that the local authorities that participate in the energy communities of citizens 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.
Designated authority to oversee
ARERA (Independent Energy Authority): is in charge of defining the technical rules to calculate the "shared energy", the electricity tariff components that are not applicable to the shared energy and overseeing that RECs members are not subject to discriminatory procedures or conditions.
GSE (Energy System Manager): is in charge of managing the implementation of the RECs registry, defining the management rules (standards, parameters, protocols) to measure the shared energy and acknowledging the incentives provided by the legal framework, monitoring the evolution of the RECs system and the overall economic impact on the energy system.
Also, in article 14(10) of the legislative decree for CECs it is mentioned that ARERA should adopt measures to implement the provisions of this Law, among which is to ensure that CECs can participate in all markets for electricity in a non-discriminatory way. Finally, in article 24 of the same decree for CECs it is mentioned that the Regulatory Authority monitors the elimination of obstacles and unjustified restrictions to the development of self-consumption of electricity and the CECs.
Number of definitions
2 (RECs and CECs)
Coherency between both definitions
Most of the criteria between RECs and CECs are similar. However, there is still a lack of distinction between RECs and other technical concepts such as collective self-consumption.