Citizens Energy Communities are becoming increasingly popular at policy level and in society generally, for environmental, economic and social reasons. Each community may have one or more of a range of objectives and activities. For example, raising environmental and energy awareness from a social and/or economic perspective may result in an education program; or a desire to be self-supporting, or less reliant on energy suppliers, may lead a community to explore Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).
We refer to a Citizens Energy Community (CEC) as: a legal entity which is based on voluntary and open participation, effectively controlled by shareholders or members who are natural persons, local authorities, including municipalities, or small- and microenterprises.
The need for an increase in controllable generation and load on the demand-side, demand-side flexibility, is becoming more urgent due to the rise of intermittent renewables and general shift towards electrification. USEF considers that flexibility can be deployed for multiple purposes and be used to serve a variety of customers and energy markets.
This paper aims to extend the scope of the USEF Flexibility Value Chain by defining the type of energy and flexibility services that CECs can offer and the economic value they create. It can therefore act as a guideline for the harmonization and development of CECs and demand-side flexibility in the EU.
To describe the economic value creation from the different services that CECs can offer, both to members and other energy system stakeholders, this paper is structured as follows:
- Chapter 2: describes the type of energy services that are commonly offered by CECs to their members. These are typically the initial driver for founding a CEC.
- Chapter 3: introduces the implicit and explicit demand-side flexibility services distinguished by the USEF Flexibility Value Chain for individual Prosumers. By definition these services are applicable to all Prosumers within the community, meaning that each member could valorize its flexibility through these services.
- Chapter 4: extends the scope of the flexibility services described in Chapter 3 by exploring the additional opportunities for a CEC to valorize flexibility based on an aggregated community load profile.
- Chapter 5: summarizes all the energy and flexibility services that can be offered by Prosumers within a community and reflects on the associated roles that can be assumed by a CEC.