With the new European regulations and with the provisions of the recent Milleproroghe Decree, a strong opening towards the birth of the so-called “energy communities” also arrives in Italy. In practice, this concerns the possibility of sharing the energy produced by renewable plants for a total power of less than 200 kW and carrying out self-consumption using the existing electricity distribution line. A long-awaited regulatory evolution that will allow the birth of a new profile of “prosumer” users.

Impact of the legislation

For now, the system is experimental, but within a few months there will be complete legislation with the transposition of the RED 2 European directive, 2018/2001/EU, which as regards the Italian system is scheduled for June 2021.

The Directive 2001/2018/EU on the development of renewable sources – in particular through articles 21 (which exactly defines the concept of self-consumption) and 22 (which describes the different modalities of the energy community) – places at the center of the European development project of energy distributed and clean just the energy communities. Energy communities are defined as “a set of subjects who, within a geographical area, are able to produce, consume and exchange energy with a local governance (aggregator) capable of favoring users with a view to self-consumption and self-sufficiency “.

The Italian decree applies to newly built plants and provides for the use of the existing network with the payment of the system charges for both the energy drawn from the network and the shared energy. The plants built in the energy community will not be able to access the incentives provided by the FER1 decree, but will have a new incentive whose operation will be identified by the Ministry of Development and whose value will be defined by ARERA.

AlgoWatt proposals for an emerging sector

algoWatt is moving to support this new paradigm shift of distributed and collaborative renewable energy, with which millions of people around the world will produce green energy and share it with others.

The company is, in fact, at the forefront of solutions for “aggregators” and also on services for new energy communities. The role of the aggregator, which acts as an interface between the Energy Community and the GSE for the regulation of the economic items relating to incentive quotas and the allocation of shared energy, has been at the center of algoWatt’s research and innovation projects for years and it is one of the strengths of the new “as-a-service” business model that the company has outlined for the future.

With the results of these projects, algoWatt is developing a dedicated management platform “Energy Revolution Community Edition”. The project under development is that of a scalable solution that starts from a dashboard aimed at operators for the management of the distribution of shared energy and economic items with GSE, also with customized contracts. With a view to optimizing the use of shared energy, it then adds energy monitoring with dashboards for the community manager and members, up to allowing energy management within the Energy Community for the plants that allow it.

Potential users

But who is interested in the new legislation? There are two types of “Energy Community”:

  1. Association of collective self-consumers. It includes consumers who belong to the same building or condominium. It is oriented towards condominiums that can share plants from common renewables.
  2. Energy Communities. It includes consumers and renewable generation plants attested on a portion of the low voltage distribution network, served by a single MV / LV substation. It is also aimed at non-domestic consumers who cover limited areas of territory (it depends on the extension of the LV network underlying the cabin).

As mentioned, within the Energy Community there must be power generation plants not exceeding 200kW and entered into service after 28/02/2020 (and up to 60 days after the conversion of EU resolution 2001 (18). In addition, the possibility of including storage systems is envisaged.The community remains a very open organization with the possibility of cancellation and does not impose any constraints regarding the supply of energy which remains the right of the individual participant.