Energy communities promote the production and distribution of renewable electricity

Electricity users’ role in the electricity system has grown as a result of the green transition. A decree that allows private individuals, communities and companies to form energy communities entered into force at the beginning of 2021. Energy communities can utilise the electricity they produce and distribute it among their members. 

Through energy communities, electricity users are encouraged to invest in renewable energy and promote the introduction of new operating methods, such as participation in demand side response.

Working group assessed the use of energy communities in the electricity market

In autumn 2022, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a working group to evaluate the need to develop the regulation of energy communities further.  The report focused on expanding the definition of an energy community and on finding ways for decentralised energy communities to better serve consumers who want to participate actively in the electricity market. 

The working group published its report on 27 April 2023.

Under the current legislation, the site where members of an energy community use electricity must be located in the same real estate or a comparable group of real estate and the site must be connected to the network operator’s distribution network with the same connection. 

The working group recommends that the Government make it easier for decentralised energy communities and active customers to distribute energy throughout Finland. The members of a virtual decentralised energy community could be located anywhere in Finland. This type of energy community would utilise the public electricity network in electricity distribution.

The report also looked at whether separate electricity distribution lines could be used for citizens’ energy communities. A separate distribution line refers to electricity distribution where the electricity has been generated in small-scale production. This is possible at the moment, but a separate distribution line is subject to a number of restrictions. The working group made various proposals for more extensive use of separate lines, but with the reservation that the proposals’ effects be evaluated more before any legislative changes.

Senior Specialist Elina Hautakangas from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment chaired the working group, which included representatives from electricity suppliers, distributors and consumers as well as public authorities and research institutions.

Final report of the working group on energy communities: Energy communities and separate distribution lines (in Finnish)

Tatu Pahkala, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 064 217