'Self-Generation' is the use of power generated on-site by an energy consumer in order to reduce, at least in part, the purchase of electricity from the grid (Council of European Energy Regulators, CEER Position Paper on Renewable Energy Self-Generation, September 2016, p. 1).
15 December 2021
Proposal for the definition of "active customer" added to the new edition of Gas Directive.
'Prosumer', 'self-generator' and 'self-consumer' are words sometimes used interchangeably (equally 'self-generation' and 'self-consumption'). The following aspects of the self-consumption are underlined by the CEER's other analysis of 11 April 2017 "Status Review of Renewable Support Schemes in Europe" (C16-SDE-56-03, p. 26, 27):
- Self-consumption is allowed in all CEER member countries.
- In most cases, no specific schemes for self-consumption are in place, i.e. the volume of self-produced RES electricity is not being measured nor being subject to any financial contribution to the overall system costs (e.g. Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Poland ).
- Most countries do not have figures about the share of self-consumed electricity (both RES and conventional electricity). Where available, the estimates range between less than 1% (e.g. Sweden) up to 11% (Germany). Malta indicated a share of 23% of self-consumed PV electricity. When specific arrangements are in place, those are in most cases taking the form of reduced contributions to the regular taxes, levies or network charges usually applied to electricity taken from the grid (e.g. Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, and Spain).
- France has introduced a scheme where prosumers connected and using the grid can self-consume and inject excess self-generated electricity into the network, which they can either sell to a third party, or give away freely (which would result in less power losses for the Distribution System Operator). A specific call for tender was organised during the second half of 2016, one of the goals was to promote self-consumption for RES installations by supporting both injected and self-consumed electricity. Spontaneous self-consumption remains allowed, i.e. where consumers self-consume for their own need and do not inject excess electricity.
- In order to implement specific self-consumption schemes, it is necessary to measure the share of self-consumed electricity. In those cases, the CEER member states have indicated having two meters in place for these purposes.
The new legislative framework for the self-generation has been introduced with the adoption of the Clean Energy Package (known also as “the Winter Energy Package”), in particular:
- the Directive (EU) 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on common rules for the internal market in electricity (recast),
- the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast).
The former has set up the definition of the ‘active customer’ being ‘a final customer, or a group of jointly acting final customers, who consumes or stores electricity generated within their premises located within confined boundaries or, where allowed by a Member State, within other premises, or sell self-generated electricity or participates in flexibility or energy efficiency schemes, provided that these activities do not constitute their primary commercial or professional activity’ (Article 2(6)).
The latter, in turn, introduced its own concepts of:
- ‘renewables self-consumer’ - ‘a final customer operating within its premises located within confined boundaries or, where permitted by a Member State, within other premises, who generates renewable electricity for its own consumption, and who may store or sell self-generated renewable electricity, provided that, for a non-household renewables self-consumer, those activities do not constitute its primary commercial or professional activity’ (Article 2(14)), and
- ‘jointly acting renewables self-consumers’ - ‘a group of at least two jointly acting renewables self-consumers in accordance with point (14) who are located in the same building or multi-apartment block’ (Article 2(15)).
The provisions for ‘energy communities’ have also been laid down.
As regards gas active customers, the legal catalogue of definitions in Article 2 of the European Commission Proposal of 15 December 2021 for a Directive of the European Parliament Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the internal markets in renewable and natural gases and in hydrogen (COM/2021/803 final) a new point 71 has been supplemented, which defines a ‘active customer’ in the gas framework as "a final natural gas customer, or a group of jointly acting final natural gas customers, who consumes or stores renewable gas, produced within its premises located within confined boundaries or, where permitted by a Member State, within other premises, or who sells self-produced renewable gas using the natural gas system, or participates in energy efficiency schemes, provided that those activities do not constitute its primary commercial or professional activity".
Interestingly, according to Article 21(5) of the Directive (EU) 2018/2001:
“The renewables self-consumer's installation may be owned by a third party or managed by a third party for installation, operation, including metering and maintenance, provided that the third party remains subject to the renewables self-consumer's instructions. The third party itself shall not be considered to be a renewables self-consumer”.
Active customers can be equally: household and non-household final customers.
Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast), Recitals 66 - 69, Article 2(14), 2(15)
With the growing importance of self-consumption of renewable electricity, there is a need for a definition of ‘renewables self-consumers’ and of ‘jointly acting renewables self-consumers’. It is also necessary to establish a regulatory framework which would empower renewables self-consumers to generate, consume, store, and sell electricity without facing disproportionate burdens. Citizens living in apartments for example should be able to benefit from consumer empowerment to the same extent as households in single family homes. However, Member States should be allowed to differentiate between individual renewables self-consumers and jointly acting renewables self-consumers due to their different characteristics to the extent that any such differentiation is proportionate and duly justified.
Empowering jointly acting renewables self-consumers also provides opportunities for renewable energy communities to advance energy efficiency at household level and helps fight energy poverty through reduced consumption and lower supply tariffs. Member States should take appropriate advantage of that opportunity by, inter alia, assessing the possibility to enable participation by households that might otherwise not be able to participate, including vulnerable consumers and tenants.
Renewables self-consumers should not face discriminatory or disproportionate burdens or costs and should not be subject to unjustified charges. Their contribution to the achievement of the climate and energy target and the costs and benefits that they bring about in the wider energy system should be taken into account. Member States should therefore generally not apply charges to electricity produced and consumed within the same premises by renewables self-consumers. However, Member States should be allowed to apply non-discriminatory and proportionate charges to such electricity if necessary to ensure the financial sustainability of the electricity system, to limit the support to what is objectively needed and to make efficient use of their support schemes. At the same time, Member States should ensure that renewables self-consumers contribute in a balanced and adequate way to the overall cost-sharing system of producing, distributing and consuming electricity, when electricity is fed into the grid.
To that end, Member States should as a general principle not apply charges to electricity individually produced and consumed by renewables self-consumers within the same premises. However, in order to prevent that incentive from affecting the financial stability of support schemes for renewable energy, that incentive could be limited to small installations with an electrical capacity of 30 kW or less. In certain cases, Member States should be allowed to apply charges to renewables self-consumers for self-consumed electricity, where they make efficient use of their support schemes and apply non-discriminatory and effective access to their support schemes. Member States should also be able to apply partial exemptions from charges, levies, or a combination thereof and support, up to the level needed to ensure the economic viability of such projects.
Household consumers and communities engaging in renewables self-consumption should maintain their rights as consumers, including the rights to have a contract with a supplier of their choice and to switch supplier.
’renewables self-consumer’ means a final customer operating within its premises located within confined boundaries or, where permitted by a Member State, within other premises, who generates renewable electricity for its own consumption, and who may store or sell self-generated renewable electricity, provided that, for a non-household renewables self-consumer, those activities do not constitute its primary commercial or professional activity;
‘jointly acting renewables self-consumers’ means a group of at least two jointly acting renewables self-consumers in accordance with point (14) who are located in the same building or multi-apartment block;
Directive (EU) 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on common rules for the internal market in electricity (recast)
All customer groups (industrial, commercial and households) should have access to the electricity markets to trade their flexibility and self-generated electricity. Customers should be allowed to make full use of the advantages of aggregation of production and supply over larger regions and benefit from cross-border competition. Market participants engaged in aggregation are likely to play an important role as intermediaries between customer groups and the market. Member States should be free to choose the appropriate implementation model and approach to governance for independent aggregation while respecting the general principles set out in this Directive. Such a model or approach could include choosing market-based or regulatory principles which provide solutions to comply with this Directive, such as models where imbalances are settled or where perimeter corrections are introduced. The chosen model should contain transparent and fair rules to allow independent aggregators to fulfil their roles as intermediaries and to ensure that the final customer adequately benefits from their activities. Products should be defined on all electricity markets, including ancillary services and capacity markets, so as to encourage the participation of demand response.
Consumers should be able to consume, to store and to sell self-generated electricity to the market and to participate in all electricity markets by providing flexibility to the system, for instance through energy storage, such as storage using electric vehicles, through demand response or through energy efficiency schemes. New technology developments will facilitate those activities in the future. However, legal and commercial barriers exist, including, for example, disproportionate fees for internally consumed electricity, obligations to feed self- generated electricity to the energy system, and administrative burdens, such as the need for consumers who self- generate electricity and sell it to the system to comply with the requirements for suppliers, etc. Such obstacles, which prevent consumers from self-generating electricity and from consuming, storing or selling self-generated electricity to the market, should be removed while it should be ensured that such consumers contribute adequately to system costs. Member States should be able to have different provisions in their national law with respect to taxes and levies for individual and jointly-acting active customers, as well as for household and other final customers.
1.Member States shall ensure that final customers are entitled to act as active customers without being subject to disproportionate or discriminatory technical requirements, administrative requirements, procedures and charges, and to network charges that are not cost-reflective.
2.Member States shall ensure that active customers are:
(a) entitled to operate either directly or through aggregation;
(b) entitled to sell self-generated electricity, including through power purchase agreements;
(c) entitled to participate in flexibility schemes and energy efficiency schemes;
(d) entitled to delegate to a third party the management of the installations required for their activities, including installation, operation, data handling and maintenance, without that third party being considered to be an active customer;
(e) subject to cost-reflective, transparent and non-discriminatory network charges that account separately for the electricity fed into the grid and the electricity consumed from the grid, in accordance with Article 59(9) of this Directive and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) 2019/943, ensuring that they contribute in an adequate and balanced way to the overall cost sharing of the system;
(f) financially responsible for the imbalances they cause in the electricity system; to that extent they shall be balance responsible parties or shall delegate their balancing responsibility in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EU) 2019/943.
3.Member States may have different provisions applicable to individual and jointly-acting active customers in their national law, provided that all rights and obligations under this Article apply to all active customers. Any difference in the treatment of jointly-acting active customers shall be proportionate and duly justified.
4.Member States that have existing schemes that do not account separately for the electricity fed into the grid and the electricity consumed from the grid, shall not grant new rights under such schemes after 31 December 2023. In any event, customers subject to existing schemes shall have the possibility at any time to opt for a new scheme that accounts separately for the electricity fed into the grid and the electricity consumed from the grid as the basis for calculating network charges.
5.Member States shall ensure that active customers that own an energy storage facility:
(a) have the right to a grid connection within a reasonable time after the request, provided that all necessary conditions, such as balancing responsibility and adequate metering, are fulfilled;
(b) are not subject to any double charges, including network charges, for stored electricity remaining within their premises or when providing flexibility services to system operators;
(c) are not subject to disproportionate licensing requirements or fees; (d) are allowed to provide several services simultaneously, if technically feasible.