II Congress of Local Energy in Poland

On January 21 2019 a I Congress of Local Energy; Administration-Business-NGOI at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw took place.

dr hab. Irena Lipowicz, prof. UKSW – Head of the Department of Administrative Law and Local Self-government gave the lecture “The evolution of the tasks of government and local public administration on the example of energy security”.

In Poland, the amendment to the law on renewable energy sources (RES) entered into force on 1 July 2016. The Act on Renewable Energy Sources describes, among others, the possibility of producing and selling energy for and by residents. It also introduces the concept of clusters, which, however, is widely understood.

What made us curious, among others was the legal issues about energy cooperatives. Introductory lectures on this topic were given by UKS students: Karolina Chról, Mateusz Sasinowski and Martyna Szlufik. Whereas Bartłomiej Kupiec talked about energy cooperatives as instruments for implementing the concept of democracy and energy in Poland.

Another concept proposed in the law of energy cluster is known in Europe, but not in Poland. In Polish law, the concept of energy cluster is in the form of a civil law agreement between various entities. It can be private persons, legal entities such as companies, but also energy cooperatives and research institutions or entities of state administration. Clusters have the task of generating and balancing the demand for, distribution or trade in energy from RES or from other sources or fuels within the low voltage network (lower than 110 kV). The area of operation shall not exceed the boundaries of one county or five municipalities.

However, in order for the cluster to be able to distribute energy, a legal entity is needed. One of them could be an Energy cooperative, which is a novelty. However, subsequent amendments to the law make it rather difficult to set up cooperatives, for example in urban areas. That is why it is worth having a broad dialogue with various parties to develop good solutions to the general availability of citizens to produce energy and take benefit from it. The question remains whether it is in the interest of politicians and energy companies associated with the Government.

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