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, as well as guide Member States so they can comply with their legal requirements under the CEP.

The existing 2014 Guidelines on State aid for Environmental Protection and Energy (EEAG) have contributed towards a number of barriers to the development of RECs. Specifically, the EEAG have caused an unlevel and implicitly discriminatory playing field for RECs with its emphasis on competitive bidding for renewables support and its insufficient recognition of the different factual and legal situation of smaller and non-commercial market actors.

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. Alongside the Climate, Environment and Energy Aid Guidelines (CEEAG), the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) needs to provide clear and positive guidance, so that Member States are able to innovate in designing renewables support schemes that can help jump-start community ownership of renewables production in their energy markets.

In this position paper, presents recommendations for the revised GBER, in order to bring the EU’s State aid framework in line with the Green Deal and the CEP.