Europe's Green Deal aims to put citizens at the heart of the energy transition by ensuring fairness and inclusiveness. This follows the Clean Energy for All Europeans legislative package (CEP), which acknowledges ‘active customers’, ‘renewables self-consumers’, ‘renewable energy communities’ (RECs), and ‘citizens energy communities’ (CECs) as distinct market actors in the energy transition. In addition to promoting equality and a level playing field in the Internal Energy Market (IEM), competition policy and State aid rules in particular need to contribute towards the delivery of the Green Deal, and must guide Member States so they can comply with their legal requirements under the CEP.

The legal framework for RECs created by the CEP intended to remedy market failures and create favorable policy and legal environments so that RECs can grow at the national level. With its Climate, Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines (CEEAG) that were recently published, the European Commission (Commission) has acknowledged RECs as unique market actors and has introduced specific provisions, including exemptions from tendering procedures, in order to allow them to access renewables support schemes.

The CEEAG now provide clear and positive options that allow Member States to innovate in designing renewables support schemes that can help jump-start local community ownership of renewables production and promote social innovation.

In this paper, we provide an analysis of the different options that the CEEAG allows Member States to pursue so they can implement their obligations under the RED II to create dedicated space for RECs in their support schemes. Moreover, we highlight the recent amendments to the Temporary Crisis Framework for State aid measures (TCF), which could be useful in helping RECs and CECs to weather some of the particular challenges in the energy crisis. Finally, in an Annex to this paper the support schemes of Ireland and Germany are highlighted as examples of Member States that have introduced specific measures for RECs in their supporting framework for renewables.