Self-consumption in France is enshrined in law 2017-2277 and decree 2017-676 (French government 2017) which contain provisions for individual and collective self-consumption. These provisions are included in the section on renewable energy of the French Energy Code. According to the definitions, individual self-consumption does not involve the public grid for sharing the produced electricity while CSC does. This distinction provides the ground for different grid tariffs for these alternatives. Collective self-consumers can choose between the standard distribution grid tariff (TURPE – national Distribution Grid Utilization Tariff) and CSC TURPE (Enedis 2019). CSC is allowed if electricity is produced and consumed by several consumers and producers linked together through a legal entity. This need to be organized within a legal entity covers a basic requirement for energy communities according to the EU framework. To our knowledge, this is not foreseen in other national frameworks on CSC. The DSOs (in France primarily Enedis) are required to equip each participant with a smart meter and implement necessary contractual and technical arrangements to facilitate self-consumption under transparent and non-discriminatory conditions. Individual self-consumption is limited to a single person with on-site prosumption. For CSC, a contract needs to be established between the DSO and the legal entity which identifies the different participants and determines the sharing scheme between the involved consumers. Net metering is not allowed for either scheme, avoiding that more electricity is treated as being self-consumed than the energy consumed within a short timeframe (Oriol 2018). In 2019, CSC was extended to a geographic distance of 2 km between the injection and consumption points with a cumulative power of the production facilities below 3 MW on the continental metropolitan territory and 0.5 MW in non-interconnected areas (French Government 2019a). In a recent amendment, an exceptional increase to a 20 km distance between the two most distant participants is foreseen for isolated projects in areas of low population density (French government 2020).
Source: Frieden et al., 2020
RECs and CECs
In 2021 France adopted frameworks for RECs and CECs. (Ordinance 2021-236). Important is the electricity-only approach, energy communities are not considered to play an important role in the transition to more efficient and sustainable heating and cooling networks.
- A renewable energy communitiy is an autonomous legal person that meets all of the following criteria: it is based on open and voluntary participation; the shareholders or members are natural persons, small and medium-sized enterprises, local authorities or a combination; participating private companies doe not have this participation as their main commercial or professional activity; it is effectively controlled by shareholders or members located near the renewable energy projects to which it has subscribed and which it has developed; its primary objective is to provide environmental, economic or social benefits to its shareholders or members or to the local territories where it operates, rather than generating financial profits.
The activities renewable energy communities can perform are well in line with the European directive:
- Produce, store, consume and sell renewable energy, including through renewable energy power purchase contracts;
- Share withing it the renewable energy produced by the production units it owns, subject to the maintenance of the rights and obligations of its members as end-customers;
- Access all relevant energy markets either directly or by aggregation, in a non-discriminatory manner.
- Citizen energy communities: a legal person meeting the following cumulative criteria: it is based on voluntary participation open to any type of member or shareholder; it is effectively controlled by members or shareholders who are natural persons, local authorities or their groups, or small companies; its main objective is to provide environmental, economic or social benefits to its members or shareholders or to the local territories where it operates, rather than to generate financial profits.
With regards to activities, a citizen energy community can:
- Take part in the production, including from renewable sources, in the supply, consumption, aggregation, storage and sale of electricity ;
- Provide services related to energy efficiency, recharging services for electric vehicles or other energy services to its members or shareholders;
- Share within it the electricity produced by the production units it owns, subject to the maintenance of the rights and obligations of its members as end-customers;
- Access all the electricity markets, either directly or by aggregation.
A citizen energy community is financially responsible for the imbalances it causes in the electricity system. In this regard, it performs the function of balance responsible party or delegates its responsibility for balancing.