It doesn’t exist yet, but it already has subsidy support ready. The Ministry of the Environment (MŽP) will support the community energy industry, which according to the current plan should enable sharing of electricity from the third quarter of 2024, with 98 million crowns.
One of the ways in which the consumer can participate in the production of electricity and provide it to other customers is the creation of so-called energy communities, which can be made up of households, companies, municipalities or the public or non-profit sector.
The MoE will take funds from the National Recovery Plan. They are supposed to support the establishment of energy communities, which are one of the prerequisites for the development of community energy. Subsidy only for the creation of these entities can reach from 600 thousand to three million crowns, depending on the type of project.
“The method of sharing must be prepared and contractually anchored before the establishment of the energy community. It may seem like a small support, but it is quite a lot of steps that need to be thought through and administratively prepared,” explained Minister of the Environment Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL).
The money is intended to support the establishment of energy communities, specifically for the processing of background materials, training and activities of coordinators who will manage the community, and for other activities necessary for the establishment of an energy community.
“We will also contribute to awareness and promotion activities such as planning workshops, civic meetings, promotion of renewable energy sources in the community, and last but not least, the activities of the energy community coordinator, who has a key role in the management and preparation of activities and is required to undergo training to community energy,” added Hladík.
Finance can be drawn by the public sector, the private sector and households. Financial support is divided into four categories according to the size of the energy community.
Owners or tenants of flats, family houses and apartment buildings or housing cooperatives that will form an energy community can receive a total of up to 600,000 crowns in support.
Public buildings that create an energy community can receive a maximum of 1.5 million crowns. However, only public entities such as municipalities and foundations, voluntary associations of municipalities or micro-regions can share electricity with each other.
However, the community can be made up of various members from both households and private companies, as well as the public sector. For them, the maximum amount is set at three million crowns. The same amount can be obtained by members of energy communities located in the territory of at least three municipalities with extended scope.
Community energy in the Czech Republic
- Community energy is based on the idea that a group of consumers can jointly produce and consume energy within an energy community. It is primarily electricity produced from renewable sources.
- The amendment to the Energy Act on community energy, or Lex OZE II, introduces new concepts such as active customer or energy community into the Czech legislation.
- The energy community will be intended for energy sharing within larger groups of up to 1,000 members. They will be able to share with each other the energy they produce from joint factories. Members of these associations will be able to be, for example, associations of unit owners, households, municipalities, schools, authorities or small businesses.
- An active customer can be a group of up to ten people who produce energy together and share it among themselves. This is, for example, an individual who generates electricity on the roof of his cottage, but only uses it during the weekend and sends the generated electricity to his apartment in the city during the week. In this case, no territorial restrictions will apply.
- Energy sharing is possible, for example, in France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Denmark or Belgium. In the Czech Republic, there is still no legislation that would allow this. However, this should change from 2024 and community energy should take off in the country as well.
Applicants will receive 60 percent of the subsidy in advance, the rest will be received after the finalization of the project. If the applicant is a VAT payer, he can receive support in the amount of a maximum of 70 percent of the costs. If VAT does not apply, it reaches up to 90 percent of expenses.
The MoE wants to support at least 40 projects from this call. “The goal is that the energy community can start functioning at the end,” describes Hladík.
A two-round competition will decide whether the applicants will receive the money. The first round of the competition will run from December 1, 2023 to the end of January 2024, and applicants will present their plans for sharing electricity within emerging communities.
So-called active customers can also share electricity with each other. Their principle is based on the fact that a family house in the village can send electricity from its own photovoltaics to an apartment in the city, which consumes it. However, the establishment of energy communities is not necessary for this, and thus the call of the MoE does not apply to them either.
The amendment to the Energy Act regulating the sharing of electricity in the Czech Republic, also known as Lex OZE II, has not yet gone through the complete legislative process. It will go to the next reading in the House of Representatives in mid-November.