In this study, the European-level regulations governing energy communities are reviewed. This is important as recognizing definitions, rights, and obligations in the regulatory world, for the energy community actors, such as citizen/renewable energy communities, active consumers, and renewables self-consumers, is vital to energy community development. This enables evaluating the comprehensiveness of regulations for functionality of the realized technical counterparts, namely microgrids, energy hubs, virtual power plants, and prosumers. By mapping the energy community actors to realized technical counterparts, the key finding of this study is that for certain cases, a right, an activity sector, or a technical feature necessitates matching to an energy community actor with a broader activity domain. This brings unnecessary rights and obligations to the intended realized technical counterpart. However, technical features prevent claiming those rights or meeting additional obligations. The study is then extended to national legislation of selected European countries, i.e., Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, and Spain. Regulatory misalignments or improvements in comparison to the European legislation are also reported. To address benefits and barriers associated with energy communities, a survey on collective energy actors (e.g., municipalities, private sector suppliers, city councils, energy service companies, etc) involved in energy transition is conducted. The key finding of the survey is that rather than economic benefits, achieving renewable targets and participating in energy-based social activities such as improving the energy efficiency are the primary motivations behind energy community initiatives.
Published in: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol.172, February 2023, 113055