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Energy communities – electricity for the neighbors

Have you always wanted to supply your neighbors’ television with electricity from your own PV system? Soon it will be possible. The Renewable Expansion Act, or EAG for short, is intended to promote the energy transition and creates the energy communities for this.

The aim of the energy communities is that energy is generated and consumed regionally. Among other things, the stability of the grid should benefit from this – keyword: blackout prevention – and the individual citizen should be involved in the energy transition as “prosumer”.

The cornerstones of the energy communities are quickly explained: A distinction is made between renewable energy communities (EEG) and citizens’ energy communities (BEG).

EEG can use electricity, cold and heat from renewable sources (e.g. PV, wind, water), but their members have to be located in a “nearby area”. Simply put, there must be no “local transformer” between the generation and consumption systems of the participants. The members of BEG can be scattered all over Austria, but are limited to the use of electricity.

Municipalities, SMEs and private individuals are allowed to participate in an energy community and have to join forces at least in pairs, e.g. as a cooperative, limited liability company or association. Energy can then be generated, consumed and stored by the community. It is also possible to sell energy that has not been used, but the focus should not be on a financial gain.

The establishment of an energy community can also be worthwhile for the wallet. BEG and EEG systems can be subsidized with investment grants, the electricity sold by EEG sometimes additionally with a market premium. In addition, various taxes and grid charges do not apply or only to a limited extent. Overall, a considerable proportion of the energy costs can be saved.

The challenges of establishing and operating energy communities should not be underestimated. Therefore, before implementation it is worth making use of the information available — e.g. from the Upper Austrian Energy Saving Association. The residential community is also a good point of contact; in some cases, specific projects are already being developed there. The costs should not be an obstacle to implementation. That is why there will be special state subsidies (e.g. the Upper Austrian subsidy program “Renewable Energy Communities EEG”).

The members of our practice group 360° Renewable Energy – Johannes Hartlieb, Kaleb Kitzmüller and Mario Laimgruber – will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the establishment and operation of energy communities. You can also find more information about energy communities at www.360ee.at. Be part of the energy transition too (the neighbors will be happy)!


6. August 2021

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