D4.1 Report on organizational and legal forms and business models for RECs

Overall, Work Package 4 (WP4) of the COME RES project is designed and executed to fulfil three main objectives. Firstly, to screen and analyse existing and organizational and legal forms and business models for RECs from across Europe T4.1). Secondly, to provide examples for novel financing instruments (T4.2). Thirdly, to develop key principles for business model proposals for four target regions (which are to be selected among the nine countries covered by COME RES: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Spain).

More specifically, Deliverable 4.1. provides an overview of existing and planned organisational and legal forms and business models of renewable energy communities (RECs) from across Europe. In addition, this report includes - where relevant and not yet described in the COME RES Deliverable 2.1 “Assessment Report on Technical, Legal, Institutional and Policy Conditions”1 - information on local conditions, such as regulatory specificities at local and/or national level, available resources and support mechanisms, as well as further financial conditions and barriers (economic, regulatory, social, technical, related to other local conditions). Business models in this context are understood as models that are financially viable and “provide environmental, economic or social community benefits for its shareholders or members or for the local areas where it operates, rather than financial profits’2”. Further aspects include a community’s main value proposition to its beneficiaries, the key partners, its main activities, drivers and resources that are not monetary.

In sum, the COME RES project is designed to advance RECs, according to Directive (EU) 2018/2001, the recast Renewable Energy Directive (or RED II). Yet, the lack of - or the only very recently accomplished - transposition of provisions that require member states to establish enabling frameworks for energy communities, has not yet allowed for a great number of RECs to become operational across Europe – at least not in the sense the EU envisions. Therefore, this Deliverable is constrained to take a flexible approach and list a range of community models that are being operated in a number of countries and partly since long periods of time.

Deliverable 4.1. is based on the input received from involved project partners, as well as additional research carried out. To this purpose, a template was developed, in coordination with FUB and by taking into account the feedback expressed during the T4.1. kick-off meeting (July 2021). This template was sent out with the request to provide information on existing energy communities. After submission, a number of aspects that needed further clarification have been consulted on bilaterally.

Deliverable 4.1 lists real-life examples of existing community energy initiatives, and adds elements from local contexts that need to be considered for the exercise of developing tailor-made business models for RECs in four target regions. This is foreseen to be undertaken in Deliverable 4.3, and for which Deliverable 4.1 will built the basis for, in combination with Deliverable 4.2 (summary report on novel financing instruments for RECs).

This Deliverable is expected to feed into activities carried out by the COME RES country desks and the stakeholder dialogues (WP3), the best practice cases and sustainability scorecard for RECs (WP5), the capacity development and best practice transfer (WP6), the policy assessment and advice (WP7). It will also be disseminated and communicated to decision-makers and among the climate action and energy stakeholder community at EU, national and local level (WP8).

Publication Date: 30 Nov 2021

Author: Dr. Dörte Fouquet, Johannes Vollmer (BBH)