Overall assessment

Updated March 2024

Two legislative acts (Legislation amending the Law on Energy and others, and Legislation amending the Law on Renewable Energy Sources of 17 August 2023) elaborate rules around the activities of CECs, RECs and energy cooperatives. Other than elaborating activities for CECs, no enabling framework provisions have been put in place under the Law on Energy. However, some enabling rules have been put in place for energy cooperatives that operate exclusively in producing renewable energy for the sole purpose of meeting their members’ consumption needs. In particular, rules have been put in place requiring DSOs to cooperate and provide a connection agreement to energy cooperatives. Furthermore, rules requiring traditional suppliers to provide balancing services to energy cooperatives have been put in place. Lastly, energy cooperatives may produce up to 10 MW of renewable energy. Nevertheless, there are still significant geographical limitations imposed on CECs, although there is no requirement of proximity imposed to them by the EU Directives. There is also still no enabling framework in place (particularly around access to information, expertise and finance) for energy communities.

Finally, while CECs can participate in the existing national support schemes for renewables, but only in the form of participation in an auction and the right to resell energy at a fixed price, there are no particular rules guaranteeing access on a level playing field with other market actors. Also, an assessment of barriers and potential for their development is missing from legislation.

Detailed assessment

Assessment of obstacles and potential for development of ECs

Not addressed in the transposition.

Removal of unjustified regulatory & administrative barriers

The Energy Regulatory Authority has the responsibility to monitor the removal of unreasonable obstacles and restrictions on the development of CECs.

Under the pre-existing Law on renewables, energy cooperatives were not allowed to sell or trade electricity. Under the new changes, energy cooperatives may engage in this activity, although they are restricted to trading with and on behalf of the members. Furthermore, the installed capacity of a renewables production installation is 10 MW. Production must cover not less than 70% of the own-consumption needs of the cooperative and its members over a 1-year period. For new cooperatives it is 40%. For biogas, annual capacity of such installations cannot exceed 40 million m3. While some of these limitations are improvements upon the previous Law on Renewables, the scope for performing activities as an energy cooperative are still significantly limited.

Rules have also been put in place governing the relationship between an energy cooperative and a traditional supplier acting as a balancing service provider. Within 90 days of a request for an energy cooperative, a balancing service provider must present a contract offer to provide services, which specify rules/deadlines for informing the provider about changes in the number of members/connection points of the cooperative, settlement rules, manner and conditions for providing metering data to individual members, and rights and obligations between the supplier and the cooperative and tis members. For installations under 400 kW, the supplier shall cover the balancing costs. Billing is undertaken by the traditional supplier, after entering into a contract with the cooperative and its individual members.

DSO duties around cooperation with ECs and facilitation of energy sharing

DSOs must conclude a distribution services agreement with a cooperative within 21 days from the date of submission of an application for the conclusion of such an agreement. The DSO must also install a digital meter for each member within 4 months of the date of the application for the installation of such a meter.

A TSO or DSO may not refuse to issue terms and conditions for the connection of renewable energy production installations by an energy cooperative if the generator that will generate electricity for the needs of the cooperative’s end users makes an application. This electricity must be fed underneath the same transformer station converting medium voltage to low voltage. Electricity may also be fed by production facilities connected by more than one transformer station, or from more than one medium-voltage network, as long as they are directly connected to each other. The production cannot be greater than 80% of the total capacity of consumption of the users, and at least 50% of the total supply must be fed to end users within a 1 hour period. The cooperative must meet at least 40% of the consumption needs of its members within one year.

Fair, proportionate, and transparent registration & licensing procedures

CECs are not subject to any simplified licensing procedures.

Energy sales between members and energy cooperatives are free from licensing.

Incentives connected to network tariffs based on a CBA

Not addressed in the transposition.

Non-discriminatory treatment as market participant

Not addressed in the transposition.

Accessibility to low-income & vulnerable households

Not addressed in the transposition.

Tools to access finance

Not addressed in the transposition.

Tools to access information

Not addressed in the transposition.

Regulatory capacity building for public authorities

Not addressed in the transposition.

NECP reporting on enabling frameworks

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

Electricity generated by the installation of a CEC may benefit from support systems. No special mechanisms are in place to ensure that support systems provide a level playing field for CECs.