Energy Communities: a brief examination of the GSE rules

Prepared by Energy Team

On 22 December 2020, Gestore dei Servizi Energetici – GSE S.p.A., with reference to groups of renewable energy self-consumers that act collectively and to renewable energy communities, introduced the technical rules to access the shared electricity enhancement and incentive service.

The Technical Rules were adopted by the GSE in application of the Law Decree of December 30, 2019, no. 162, containing “Urgent provisions regarding the extension of legislative terms, the organization of public administrations, as well as technological innovation (so-called Milleproroghe)”, as converted by Law of February 28, 2020, no. 8, which defines, in Article 42-bis (according to which the GSE is expected to pay an incentive rate, as an alternative to the exchange on the spot, identified by decree of the Ministry of Economic Development), the methods and conditions for the activation of collective self-consumption from renewable sources(i.e. self-consumer group) and the creation of renewable energy communities.

With respect to the self-consumer group of renewable energy is aimed a client, that operates in sites located within fixed limits and produce renewable energy for its own energy use and may alternatively store or sell the energy produced, provided that these activities do not constitute its principal commercial or professional activity while renewable energy communities are defined as a legal entity that (a) is established on the basis of open and voluntary participation, is autonomous and is effectively controlled by shareholders or members who are located in the vicinity of the relevant energy production plant; (b) the shareholders or members of which are natural persons, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regional or local authorities, including municipal authorities, provided that, for private companies, participation in the renewable energy community is not their principal business activity; (c) the principal purpose is to provide environmental, economic or social benefits at community level to its shareholders or members or to the local areas in which it operates.

In detail, the Technical Rules provide that the production plants eligible for the valorization and incentive service of shared electricity powered by renewable sources are those that entered into operation starting from March 1, 2020 and within 60 days from the date of entry into force of the transposition provision of the EU Directive 2018/2011.

Furthermore, please note that also plants that incidentally produce electricity by combustion of non-renewable sources but for which the electricity produced attributable to energy sources other than renewable is less than 5% annually, could access the shared electricity enhancement and incentive service.

Within the allowed configurations, there may also be multiple systems with different producers and not necessarily coinciding with one of the end customers. However, the maximum power of each plant cannot exceed 200 kW. The interventions allowed to access the shared electricity enhancement and incentive service are those of new plant construction or upgrading of existing plants, in which case only the added plant section will take into account in the configuration.

In this way, it is started the experimentation of a legal framework aimed at allowing final consumers and/or energy producers to associate with each other to “share” the electricity produced locally by new plants powered by small renewable sources.

The introduction of the Technical Rules, although it represents an important starting point for achieving the national objectives for the increase of renewable sources, has not received the unanimous consent of the operators in the sector, so much so that criticisms have already arrived from associations of reference, especially with reference to their subjective scope of application. This is because, in this first phase, the possibility to participate was limited to individuals, small and medium-sized non-energy companies and municipalities with other local administrations. Therefore, all public bodies other than municipalities and above all non-profit organizations were excluded, despite the applicable European and national legislation set forth the maximum participation in renewable energy projects, on the basis of objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria.

However, it cannot be ruled out that, with reference to these aspects, new measures that implement and/or modify the existing ones could take place.

Therefore, they will be updates which, probably, will lead to the opening of technical tables, necessary to discuss all the issues concerning the cases described above.

The Energy Team remain at disposal for any clarification.

Let’s Talk

For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Tommaso Tomaiuolo

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti



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