Overall assesment

The Act 256/2022 of 22 June 2022 has amended Act 251/2012 on energy to define energy communities and communities producing energy from renewable sources. Its provisions are applicable from October 2022. The legal framework has been further clarified by an amendment 363/2022 of 19 October 2022 to the Act 309/2009 on support for renewable energy sources. In light of the latter, the Ministry of Energy is responsible to develop the enabling framework for RECs. There is elaboration of what each term in the definitions mean at the context of Slovakia. The fulfillment of the conditions regarding the process to set up an EC, its purpose and its activities need to be demonstrated by an energy community or a community producing energy from renewable sources in legal relations with other participants in the electricity market or participants in the gas market with a certificate. The certificate is issued and canceled by the Office for the Regulation of Network Industries.

Some issues identified with the Slovakian transposition is that the autonomy principle is missing from the definition of RECs, while at the same time they define broadly how profits can be distributed in the energy community, thus opening the door to corporate capture.

Detailed assesment

Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition

For energy communities:

  • Open and voluntary membership is covered
  • Effective control is covered
  • Eligibility is covered
  • There is a proximity restriction on who can exercise control

For communities producing energy from renewable sources (RECs):

  • Open and voluntary membership is covered
  • Eligibility is covered
  • Requirement of proximity

Autonomy is missing

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

Article I(11a) of the act 251/2012 (as amended by Act 256/2022 of 22 June 2022) mentions that an energy community is a legal entity,

a)which is established for the purpose of electricity production, electricity supply, electricity sharing, electricity storage, aggregation activity, electricity distribution, operation of a charging station or performance of other activities or provision of other services related to securing the energy needs of its members or partners (hereinafter referred to as "member") with the aim of realizing environmental, economic or social community benefits,

b)which does not carry out activities according to letter a) for the purpose of achieving profit,

c)in which it is possible to enter, acquire a share or otherwise become a member, from which it is possible to withdraw, terminate participation or membership based on the decision of the member and

d)whose members, who alone or together with other members can exercise control in the energy community, are only natural persons, small businesses, higher territorial units or municipalities in the territorial district of the higher territorial unit in which the energy community is based.

Paragraph 2 states that a community producing energy from renewable sources is a legal entity,

a)which is established for the purpose of producing electricity from renewable energy sources or biomethane and which can simultaneously be established for the purpose of supplying electricity or gas, sharing electricity from renewable energy sources or biomethane, storing electricity from renewable energy sources, activities of aggregation, distribution of electricity, operation of charging station or the performance of other activities or the provision of other services related to ensuring the energy needs of its members with the aim of realizing environmental, economic or social community benefits,

b)which does not carry out activities according to letter a) for the purpose of achieving profit,

c)in which it is possible to enter, acquire a share or otherwise become a member, from which it is possible to withdraw, terminate participation or membership based on the decision of the member,

d)whose members are only natural persons, small and medium-sized enterprises, higher territorial units or municipalities in the territorial district of the higher territorial unit, in which the community producing energy from renewable sources is based, and

e)the members of which, individually or together with other members, are authorized to carry out inspections in the community producing energy from renewable sources have permanent residence or headquarters in the territory of the higher territorial unit in which the equipment for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources or the equipment for the production of biomethane owned by the community producing energy is located from renewable sources or the majority of such installations, if the community producing energy from renewable sources produces electricity or gas in several such installations; if a higher territorial unit cannot be determined according to the previous sentence, it shall be determined according to the seat of the community producing energy from renewable sources.

Paragraph 4 of the same article specifies that if according to a special regulation, of the founding document or statutes, an energy community or a community producing energy from renewable sources can distribute a maximum of 50% of the generated profit among the members, for the purposes of this law, the activities according to paragraph 1 letter a) or paragraph 2 letter a) are not considered to be carried out for the purpose of making a profit. This definition seems a bit broad and in connection with the lack of autonomy, it might open the door to corporate capture.

Clearly defined purpose

Copy paste from EU Directives

ICA cooperative governance principles reflected

Yes, to the level indicated at the EU Directives

Legal entities allowed

Not specified

Citizen participation is ensured

Not clearly mentioned

Designated authority to oversee

Article I(11a)(11) of the act 251/2012 (as amended by Act 256/2022 of 22 June 2022) highlights that the Office for the Regulation of Network Industries registers issued certificates of energy communities and communities producing energy from renewable sources. The Office publishes a list of energy communities and communities producing energy from renewable sources on its website.

Article I(11a)(9) clarifies that if the authority finds that the energy community or the community producing energy from renewable sources has ceased to meet any of the conditions under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 (see above on level of detail), or is carrying out activities contrary to the purpose for which they were founded, it will invite the energy community or the community producing energy from renewable sources to execution of the correction and will determine a reasonable period for it.

Paragraph 10 adds that the Authority shall cancel the certificate each EC needs to acquire if it finds that

a)the energy community or the community producing energy from renewable sources has ceased to meet any of the conditions under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 after the certificate has been issued, or is carrying out activities contrary to the purpose for which they were established, and has not made corrections within the period determined by the authority, or

b)the certificate is issued on the basis of false data.

Number of definitions

2 – energy community and community producing energy from renewable sources

Coherency between both definitions

Article I(11a)(3) of the act 251/2012 (as amended by Act 256/2022 of 22 June 2022) mentions that a community producing energy from renewable sources is also considered an energy community, unless this law provides otherwise.