The Swedish Government has yet to formally propose legislation transposing energy communities. However, the Swedish Energy Regulator has proposed recommendations for how to transpose the law. The regulator proposes one concept, the energy community, with two operative definitions: citizen energy communities and renewable energy communities. This creates a single concept as the basis for both CECs and RECs, and should promote coherency within the concept. The Regulator also proposes that energy communities be governed as Economic Associations (the Swedish version of cooperatives), under the Economic Associations Act. This governs decision-making, which by default is one-person-one-vote. However, this may be derogated from. Nevertheless, the ICA principles are generally covered, and openness and voluntary participation is covered by the Regulator’s recommendations. Participation in RECs is limited to those living in geographical proximity, which is narrower than the Renewables Directive. However, the regulator implies that RECs should simply need to state what their geographical proximity is, implying a form of flexibility. The purpose for both CECs and RECs is clear. Furthermore, the regulator proposes regulatory oversight over the registration and compliance with requirements of the definition. One drawback is that in the purposes of the REC and CEC, providing economic, social or environmental benefits to non-members seems to not be allowed, significantly limiting social innovative potential of energy communities .
Criteria of EU definition reflected in national definition
- Openness is covered and reasons for refusal of membership are given
- Voluntariness is covered by a member having the right to cancel their membership; they may withdraw their contribution 6 months after membership expires
- Effective control for RECs is met through membership eligibility restrictions based on geographic proximity
- The Economic Associations Act stipulates that voting is one-person-one vote unless stated otherwise. As such, autonomy could be more explicitly ensured.
Level of detail in the elaboration of principles contained in EU criteria
- Requirement for RECs to operate within a well-defined area with limited geographical distribution (activities and the geographical area where they are carried out must be stated in the REC’s statutes, implying flexibility)
- Eligibility for membership in RECs is limited to residents, or those operating or permanently related to the area
- For RECs, statutes must include provision stating that traders can only be granted membership if their membership is not their primary commercial or professional activity
Clearly defined purpose
- CECs – would have purpose to generate social, economic or environmental benefits through production, supply or consumption of electricity, aggregation, storage, provide charging points for EVs, energy efficiency services or other energy services to its members. This would exclude benefits to the local community
- RECs – would have purpose to conduct “renewable energy activities” to provide environmental, economic or social benefits to its members. This would exclude providing benefits to the local community
ICA cooperative governance principles reflected
Principles of cooperatives are covered by this legislative proposal, along with the Economic Associations Act, which would apply to energy communities.
Legal entities allowed
Economic Associations (which is the Swedish version of cooperatives).
Citizen participation is ensured
No, but it must be formed by three or more natural or legal persons.
Designated authority to oversee
Yes, and the energy community must be registered in a register for associations; they are supervised by the network authority, which has the right to request information needed for supervision (backed by a fine), and may issue orders to the energy community to ensure compliance (backed by an injunction and/or a fine).
Number of definitions
2, with one over-arching concept of ‘energy community’.
Coherency between both definitions
CECs and RECs would be considered an energy community.