Collective self-consumption was already introduced in Austria in 2017 as part of an amendment of the electricity act (ElWOG) (Government of Austria 2020). The act supports private and commercial CSC (in e.g., multi-apartment buildings), including electricity sharing, which previously was hardly possible. So far, the use of the public grid for energy sharing is not permitted. The amendment defined specific aspects of these models such as the role of the different involved actors and the required contractual relationships between them. The costs to be charged by the distribution system operator (DSO) for its services (measurement, attribution of electricity to participants) were defined by the Austrian regulator E-Control. With respect to support schemes, during the last years, some municipalities and federal states moved from general PV support to specific support for either company-based (larger scale) installations or CSC. On federal state level, this was the case in, e.g., Styria (Land Steiermark 2018). On municipality level, for instance, the city of Graz implemented a CSC support in 2016 that currently applies until the end of 2020 (Umweltamt Graz 2018). In addition, since 2017, a support scheme for subsidizing CSC projects is also available on national level).
Source: Frieden et al., 2020
RECs and CECs
In July 2021, a legislative package on the expansion of renewable energy was adopted (Renewables Expansion Law/Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz, EAG). The legislative package establishes a framework for RECs, while also provisions on CECs are introduced.
For setting the level of reduction in principle, fees for using network voltage levels that are superordinate to the network voltage level in which the REC is located will be deducted for electricity exchanged within the REC. In addition, the volumetric tariff elements for surcharges are supposed to be deducted from the network tariff. The tariff reduction will be defined o for low and medium voltage communities applying to all network areas. For the low voltage level, a reduction of more than 50% is discussed, for medium voltage communities a reduction of 30%.The losses DSOs make because of reduced network fees to participants of energy communities, would have to be compensated by consumers not participating in Energy Communities.
In summer 2021 Austria has established a Coordination Office for Energy Communities. Together with the public advisory institutions in the federal states, it will ensure that energy communities in Austria can be set up and operated easily and become an indispensable part of the energy market in Austria.
The Austrian government will provide up to four Million Euro to support the establishment of energy communities.
Austria will also monitor compliance with the legal requirements for energy communities. In form of random or case-by-case checking of compliance the energy community needs to provide the regulatory authority with the data and information. The regulatory authority will has to publish an annual report on energy communities established in Austria, in particular on the number and regional distribution of energy communities.