Overall assessment

Updated December 2022

Portugal has transposed provisions for both RECs and CECs. The legislation does include provisions on developing an enabling framework for RECs, although none of these provisions provide any detail beyond what is included in the EU Directives. The Government has not yet undertaken an assessment of drivers and barriers to the development of RECs, although it has legally obliged itself to do so. The Government has also established an investment support programme under its Recovery and Resilience Plan. There are also some tools that have been set up to provide information to prospective community initiatives, as well as an online e-Portal to help register energy community self-consumption projects, and to facilitate information transfer between the DSO, the energy community, and the relevant supplier(s). There are also some relaxed administrative procedures for getting smaller projects approved, but no regulations have been tailored to RECs. There is no dedicated support scheme for REC projects.

Overall, while Portugal has transposed definitions for RECs and CECs, it has yet to establish a comprehensive or coherent enabling framework to allow energy communities to develop. While regulations around collective self-consumption have been adopted, there are a number of gaps that will prevent energy communities from exercising their full rights under the EU directives.

Detailed assessment

Assessment of obstacles and potential for development of ECs

The Ministry has a legal obligation to conduct an assessment of potential and barriers. This should have been undertaken within two years of entry into force of the legislation (2019), and every three years afterwards. However, the initial assessment has still not been carried out.

Removal of unjustified regulatory & administrative barriers

RECs are subject to supplier obligations for electricity shared within it, although this is not the case for collective self-consumption. RECs must also still be balancing responsible. This responsibility may be fulfilled directly, or through a third party. Furthermore, regulations for energy communities have been framed primarily around PV and energy sharing only, significantly limiting the ability of energy communities to exercise their rights more broadly across the energy sector.

DSO duties around cooperation with ECs and facilitation of energy sharing

Energy sharing has been enabled through the combination of Decrees on RECs and CECs, as well as an additional regulations on self-consumption, which is the basis for energy sharing among energy communities. Rules cover the roles and responsibility of the DSO. Energy communities must communicate their sharing key with the DSO. Otherwise, the DSO will adopt a default static sharing key. The DSO must adapt its IT system within six months to monitor consumption within the energy sharing initiative. The DSO must also provide information to the energy community and the affected suppliers

A number of issues have been raised regarding the DSOs’ implementation of their responsibility to connect projects to the grid and to share data with relevant parties. Significant delays, and a lack of transparency or clarity around the process, plus bottlenecks to accessing and transmitting information, have been cited.

Fair, proportionate, and transparent registration & licensing procedures

REC production facilities are subject to registration or production license, and specific requirements may be defined by order of the member of the Government responsible for energy. Fees are due for the assessment of applications for production installations for self-consumption with an installed capacity above 30 kW, exempting smaller installations from the fee. Installations with no greater electricity production than 350 W and installed capacity equal to or less than 30 kW are subject to mere prior communication.

Incentives connected to network tariffs based on a CBA

According to article 212º, CIEG charges (charges included in the network charges, associated with the costs of energy policy, sustainability and general economic interest) corresponding to the self-consumption and electricity conveyed to the grid by RECs and prosumers, may be totally or partially deducted by means of an order of the Government, on an annual basis. In the absence of the referred order, the regulatory authority is responsible for defining the part of CIEG to be deducted each year. Since the publication of this decision, in 2020, the total exemption of these costs has been applied to electricity produced by RECs and through collective prosumership. For individual prosumers, the electricity conveyed to the grid is subject to a 50% exemption of these charges.

The definition of additional charges, fees and taxes applicable to prosumers and energy communities will be aligned with the conclusions of a transparent analysis of the cost-benefit relation of decentralized energy projects.

Non-discriminatory treatment as market participant

The Decrees state that RECs can access all appropriate energy markets, both directly and through aggregation, in a non-discriminatory manner. The 2022 Decree in particular states that RECs can access all energy markets, including system services, both directly and through aggregation. No further rules are elaborated to realise this.

Accessibility to low-income & vulnerable households

The Decree states that consumers who carry out self-consumption activities are assured that integration into communities is accessible to all consumers, including low-income or vulnerable families. However, no further details have been elaborated.

Tools to access finance

In June 2022, the national government opened a call to support the implementation of Renewable Energy Communities and Collective Self-Consumption, financed through the Recovery and Resilience Plan. This program aims at promoting electricity generation from renewable energy sources at the community level, including RECs and collective self-consumption. The supported measures are expected to lead to a reduction of 30% of primary energy use in the intervened buildings and an increased RES-e generation capacity of 93 MW (35 MW in residential buildings, 28 MW in public buildings from central administration, and 30 MW in services buildings). Promotors of RECs and collective self-consumption initiatives, being single or collective persons, are eligible for funding. The programme finances up to 50% (services buildings), 70% (residential buildings) or 100% (public buildings) of the investment associated with: - the installation of RES-e generation systems, with or without storage; - the performance of studies and consulting services (limited to 10% of the total eligible investment) - the acquisition of software and/or smart platforms (limited to 25% of the total eligible investment) The maximum limit for funding is 500 k€ per community initiative, and 200 k€ per generation unit (including storage). The applications are assessed according to the following criteria: - number of participants/members of the community initiative, in order to value the applications that involve more members and installation units; - ratio between investment and energy savings (€/toe), aiming for economic efficiency; - share of the total electricity consumption ensured by self-generation; - energy sharing index, in order to value projects leading to a greater distribution of the electricity generated by the members of the initiative

Recently, the government announced a call under the Recovery and Resiliency Plan to support implementation of RECs and Self-Consumption. It is intended for residential, public and retail buildings.

Tools to access information

Agência para a Energia (ADENE , or the National Energy Agency) has a role to:

  • Provide information on: i) the procedures for setting up and participating in a REC or CEC or exercising the collective self-consumption activity, and respective deadlines, including the availability of guides and manuals; ii) the efficient use of energy with a view to promoting energy efficiency and the rational use of resources;
  • Develop a simulation tool aimed at analysing the technical and economic feasibility for the implementation and development of the self-consumption, safeguarding compliance with the GPDR provisions in situations where access to commercially sensitive or personal information; and
  • Establish a dedicated helpline for self-consumption stakeholders.

In practice, none of these tools is available, although ADENE is still working on them. Therefore, there is still a lot of practical information missing for potential stakeholders. ADENE has also started to make a briefing on how to access funds under the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Under the 2021 Regulation, there is an electronic platform for submission, processing and communication of requests for registration, licensing and other procedures for the management of the activity of self-consumption and renewable energy communities.

Regulatory capacity building for public authorities

Not addressed in the transposition

NECP reporting on enabling frameworks

The Decree states that the essential elements of the enabling framework and its implementation shall be part of the updates of the integrated national energy and climate plans and progress reports drawn up pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999, the European Parliament and the Council of 11 December 2018, governance of the Energy and Climate Action Union. 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

Not addressed in the transposition