Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen: Finanzierung als Bürde für die Umsetzung von Erneuerbare-Energie-Gemeinschaften – Status Quo und Handlungsbedarf für die Energiepolitik

Financing as a Burden for the Implementation of Renewable Energy Communities - Status Quo and Needs for Action for German Energy Policy

The EU Horizon 2020 project COME RES focuses on Renewable Energy Communities (RECs). To facilitate the development of RECs, the project aims to promote the exchange between different regions and stakeholders in nine different EU countries through the work in so-called country desks. In Germany, the project takes Thuringia as a target region and Schleswig-Holstein as a model region, focusing in particular on onshore wind energyand integrated approaches.

With the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), renewable energy communities were included in the European policy framework for the first time, obliging member states to establish an enabling regulatory framework. The preconditions for development vary greatly between EU countries. Although some countries such as Germany, have a long-standing experience in supporting energy communities, especially energy cooperatives (EGs), there are still a number of barriers towards the implementation of new projects.

In this article, we discuss in particular the barriers regarding the initial financing of RECs and discuss why a consequent and comprehensive transposition of RED II in Germany is necessary to advance the expansion of renewable energies at the local level. We draw from observations in public events (e.g. carried out by the German Wind Energy Association BWE and other stakeholders), meetings of the German country desk of the COME RES project and on policy-related documents such as recommendations by interest groups and political parties.

Although the state of transposing RED II in Germany has strongly improved since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act in 2022 there is still room for improvement. A major hindrance is the still missing regulation of Energy Sharing. Although the primary aim of a REC lies in the creation of ecological and social benefits and not economic profit, this does not mean that economic viability can be neglected as it still provides a fundamental base for operation. An improvement that has already been enhanced by the federal government is the exemption of wind power plants below 18 MW and PV plants below 6MW from the auction model, thus strongly ameliorating the starting conditions for RECs in Germany.

Publication Date: 04 Apr 2022

Author: Lucas Schwarz, Maria Rosaria Di Nucci & Michael Krug (FFU)