Community Generation Facilities (CGF)
Independent energy supply for multi-family dwellings
CGFs represent a further step towards the energy transition. Multi-family dwellings can participate in electricity production in the spirit of sustainability – customer become producers (prosumers). In addition to solar cells, wind turbines or combined heat and power plants can also be considered for a CGF.
According to the wording of the statute, tenants or owners are the so-called “participating beneficiaries” (participants). Participants must designate an “operator of the joint generation facility” (operator) for interconnection with the system operator. The User Portal is the preferred tool for operators of CGFs to be able to carry out energy-related data exchange.
How do Community Generation Facilities work?
The contract between the operator of the CGF and the participants lays down the conditions for the way in which power can be drawn from the facility and revenues distributed between the operator and the participants when surplus electricity is fed into the public network. A smart meter is required for participation. In order for the allocation and billing of electricity to be correctly carried out, all participants must give their consent to the recording and transmission of quarter-hourly data.
The operator must notify the system operator of the mode for allocating the volumes of electricity generated amongst participants. More information on the distribution models (static and dynamic) and on billing amongst participants can be found on the factsheet Community Generation Facilities from Oesterreichs Energie and in the brochure from the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy.
Renewable Energy Communities (REC)
Decentralised energy supply in a power network
Participants in RECs can join together not only within properties, but also within a local or regional area via the public power network.
The main difference to Community Generation Facilities is that the generation facility and the participants are connected via the public grid. Renewable energy systems are also allowed to generate, store, consume and sell different types of energy (electricity, heat or gas) from renewable sources.
How do Renewable Energy Communities work?
RECs come in two forms:
- In local neighbourhood areas, participants are connected via the low-voltage local network lines, which are connected to a transformer station.
- In the case of regional areas, medium-voltage lines between several transformer stations are also used to connect the participants.
More information on how RECs work can be found at Oesterreichs Energie.
For detailed information on RECs, from formation of the community to ongoing operations, contact the Advisory Office.
Citizen Energy Communities (CEC)
Decentralised energy supply across network areas
Participants and generation facilities in CECs can join together not only within a single electricity network, but also across multiple electricity networks.
The difference between these and the RECs is that the generation facilities and the participants can be connected via multiple concession areas (network areas). This means that participants from all over Austria can take part in a CEC and the energy community is not limited to a single network area. CECs are also only allowed to generate, store, consume and sell electrical power.
For detailed information on CECs, from formation of the community to ongoing operations, contact the Advisory Office.
The basic concept here is that the energy generated by the generation facilities is distributed to the participants on a pro rata basis, and surplus energy is fed into the public grid. Distribution is done via a distribution key, which can be either static or dynamic. Only a single distribution key is permitted per energy community. The operator, together with the participants, is free to decide which of the two distributiontion models they wish to choose.
Static distribution means that each participant is always allocated the agreed share generated. If they do not consume it, the electricity is fed into the grid, i.e. it goes back into the “community surplus system”. The allocation key agreed between the participants and the energy community can be changed once a year free-of-charge if desired.
Dynamic distribution means that energy generated by the generation facilities is allocated amongst participants so far as possible according to demand, in order to increase the degree of self-sufficiency. In this case, too, the surplus from individual participants goes back into the “community surplus system”. If a participant does not need electricity at the moment, the electricity is allocated to other participants.
Billing and metering
The system operator provides the energy community with the following data for the billing period.
Generation metering point:
- Generation according to metering [KWH]
- Surplus generation [KWH]
Consumption meterin point:
- Consumption based on metering [KWH]
- Share of joint generation [KWH]
- Own coverage of joint generation [KWH]
These data can be used for transparent billing of the energy community with individual participants.
How revenues from these surpluses are divided between the operator and participants is a matter that the operator and participants can freely agree on amongst themselves. The question of how the costs of the energy community are allocated is also determined by the participants and the operator amongst themselves.
Additional energy that individual participants draw from the public network continues to be charged directly to participants by the energy suppliers and the system operator in accordance with the applicable tariffs. The basis for all electronic invoicing in each case is the data supplied by the smart meters or the load profile meter (LPM) on a quarter-hourly basis.
Steps required for operation
- Master data recording of generation facility / Participants
- Transmission of metering points from participants to system operator
- Transmission of allocation key of generation facilities to system operator
- Transmission of the required energy data from all generating facilities and participants
- Processing / Preparation of data for billing of participants
- If applicable, performance of billing to participants
To participate in the Energy Data Exchange, the energy community must register on the information platform ebUtilities.at. The identifier (e.g. GC100006 or RC100006 or CC100006) is assigned in the course of registration for the role in question. This identifier is valid as an identification number for all further data exchange via EDA with other market participants.
Note for citizens’ energy communities: Information
The following options are available to energy communities for data transmission or exchange:
- User portal (including process environment for sending and processing messages)
- E-mail connectivity (energy community’s own software application required for sending and processing messages)
- Communication Endpoint (energy community’s own IT landscape and software applications required for sending and processing messages)
The User Portal was developed for energy communities. It not only transmits data securely, but also offers all information on data transmission and security as well as comprehensive services. In the User Portal, messages transmitted by system operators are visualised and processed for further use.
You will find the relevant market processes here (Category "Energiegemeinschaften").