Over 170 renewable energy communities in Upper Austria

OÖ Energiesparverband has added a One-Stop Shop for Energy Communities to its service portfolio. Since 2021, it has successfully supported the development and establishment of Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) – there are now already over 170 RECs with more than 3,000 members in operation.

Over 170 renewable energy communities in Upper Austria

In 2021, the Austrian Parliament adopted the legal framework that enables the establishment of RECs in Austria. Seeing the great potential of this new and complex instrument, it was clear to ESV that significant support would be needed in order to get things moving and that they, as regional energy agency, could have a key role in making this happen.

ESV is well-equipped to run an OSS and support RECs: it has extensive experience through its existing OSSs for building renovation (homes) and energy performance contracting, as well as its range of other programmes for citizens (10,000 energy advice sessions, housing programmes), municipalities and SMEs. The Energy Communities OSS was developed in the context of the H2020 project UP-STAIRS.

The new OSS service provides support to municipalities, households and SMEs in Upper Austria on the technical, regulatory, financial and organisational aspects of energy communities. The agency also succeeded in convincing the regional government to launch a dedicated small financial support programme for the preparation of RECs (if specific legal or technical support is needed). The national government then adopted this programme on the national level.

Impact so far:

• Advice and support to municipalities, households and SMEs in Upper Austria on regulatory, technical, financial and organisational aspects of Energy Communities. Over 1,100 individual advice sessions (on-site, by phone, video meetings) have already been carried out.

• Information on RECs in 57 events with 3,200 participants, of which 21 were own ESV events dedicated only to Energy Communities (training courses, conferences, roundtables, workshops), target groups: citizens, municipalities and other key stakeholders.

• In December 2023, there were already over 500 shared PV installations in larger buildings, more than 170 RECs with over 3,000 members, and more than 20 citizens energy communities in the region.

More forms of energy sharing will follow in the Austrian legislative framework. That will allow to take energy sharing to the next level in the coming years!

This best practice is extracted from our publication ‘Sustainable Regions in Action‘. Discover more best practices here!