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Political brief: Article 22, a game changer

By Claire Roumet on 2 June 2017

“It is like Wallonia with the CETA: it’s a little revolution inside.” This is how Damien Ernst*, an international expert for electricity networks, called Article 22 of the EU Renewable Energy Directive promoting renewable energy communities.

The inclusion of such an article opens the energy markets to new and small players, Ernst explained during a citizen’s debate on energy transition in Liège, Belgium. It has the potential for offering a level playing field to decentralised and community energy producers.

Together with partners, amongst which cooperatives and environmental NGO representatives, Energy Cities was advocating for Article 22 to be included before the European Commission released its proposals. We had detailed bold positions and are very grateful towards the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy for taking them into account. Now that the proposals are being negotiated by the Energy Ministers and the European Parliament, they need to maintain this inside revolution and translate it into EU legislation.

This Article (see below) calls for Member States to remove barriers to local and small-scale energy production and promotes community-owned production models in their diversity. It is a necessary step towards energy democracy. A necessary step towards an energy system that would not only be fit for the future, relying on local endless resources like the sun and wind, but also because it will allow for decisions about the system and the generated wealth to be better shared within the community.

Article 22 is one of the positive elements out of a huge package of legislative proposals. For each of them, Energy Cities has conducted an analysis on possible positive and negative impacts on cities’ energy transition, and we will take up a stance over it after debating with our network members.

Come and meet your peers and discuss such key political issues at our 2017 Conference in Stuttgart!

Article 22
Renewable energy communities
1. Member States shall ensure that renewable energy communities are entitled to generate, consume, store and sell renewable energy, including through power purchase agreements, without being subject to disproportionate procedures and charges that are not cost-reflective.
For the purposes of this Directive, a renewable energy community shall be an SME or a not-for-profit organisation, the shareholders or members of which cooperate in the generation, distribution, storage or supply of energy from renewable sources, fulfilling at least four out of the following criteria:
(a) shareholders or members are natural persons, local authorities, including municipalities, or SMEs operating in the fieldsor renewable energy;
(b) at least 51% of the shareholders or members with voting rights of the entity are natural persons;
(c) at least 51% of the shares or participation rights of the entity are owned by local members, i.e. representatives of local public and local private socio-economic interests or citizen having a direct interest in the community activity and its impacts;
(d) at least 51% of the seats in the board of directors or managing bodies of the entity are reserved to local members, i.e. representatives of local public and local private socio-economic interests or citizens having a direct interest in the community activity and its impacts;
(e) the community has not installed more than
18 MW of renewable capacity for electricity, heating and cooling and transport as a yearly average in the previous 5 year.
2. Without prejudice to State aid rules, when designing support schemes, Member States shall take into account the specificities of renewable energy communities.

*http://blogs.ulg.ac.be/damien-ernst/

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