New opportunities for residents of apartment buildings to generate and consume their own green electricity

Date

2019 06 08

Rating
2
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Approval by the Seimas of the amendments to the Laws on Renewable Energy and on Electricity prepared by the Ministry of Energy opened opportunities for residents of apartment buildings to become electricity producing consumers and consume electricity generated from renewable energy resources. Lithuania is among the pioneers in Europe to implement the small green energy development model, when electricity can be generated and consumed in different locations. This new system will come into effect from the 1st of October.

“We are exerting all possible efforts to create an attractive, flexible and progressive system promoting residents to produce and consume green and clean electricity, to enable quicker investment payback and to feel tangible benefits sooner, through smaller bills for electricity,” said Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

One of the major novelties to come is an opportunity created for residents to produce electricity from renewable resources and to consume it in different geographical locations. In other words, consumers will be able to build a power plant in one location, while its generated energy can be consumed in a different location, for example, to produce electricity in a farmstead in Alytus District, and to consume it in their apartment in Vilnius City.

Electricity generated in such plant would be supplied to the electricity grid, while during the accumulation period, i.e. from the 1st of April of a current year until the 31st of March next year, every resident will be able to recover the quantity of electricity supplied to the grid, by paying only a fixed fee for the use of the electricity system. At present, residents can choose from four options of fees for the use of the system.

The novelties are of specific importance for residents of flats in apartment buildings, who will be able to consume electricity generated in renewable power plants located in remote land plots.

Until now, residents of such apartment buildings had only one option of installing such power plants on the roofs of their block of flats. However, because of limited space and other technical restrictions, such power plants did not generate sufficient electricity to bring significant reductions in residents' bills for electricity.

Therefore, the installation of such power plants and accounting of generated electricity were complicated. The introduced changes will enable individual residents of flats to become electricity generating consumers irrespective of the decision of other residents of the block of flats.

Besides, residents willing to become electricity generating consumers will not necessarily have to build their own power plants – residents of private houses or blocks of flats will be able to buy electricity capacity satisfying their needs for electricity from persons developing renewable energy projects – either companies or private persons.

'It is a revolutionary change, because once this system is in operation, it will take no more than a few hours to become electricity consumer – all that needs to be done is to buy required share of already installed power plant', said the Minister of Energy.

The Seimas removed the restrictions on capacity of power plants – prosumers will be allowed to build renewable power plants of up to 500 kilowatts (kW) power. The only condition – installed power of such power plant may not exceed the power permitted for the consumer's object. At present, prosumers can install power plants of maximum 10 kW, legal entities – 100 kW.

Total permitted power of power plants built by prosumers was also increased: from 100 megawatts (MW) up to 200 MW, by distributing 100 MW to household and non-household electricity consumers, each.

From the beginning of July, the installation procedures for small (up to 30 kW) power plants will be simplified, by removing some permits and differentiating fees for power plant connection to the grid. It will result in faster and cheaper installation of 30 KW power plants – this process is planned to take about three weeks only, while residents building new houses will be charged a smaller power plant connection fee. Until now, simplified conditions were only applied to 5 kW power plants.

Furthermore, to protect legitimate expectations of electricity generating consumers regarding payback of investments into power plants, the principle of electricity accumulation in the grid will stay in effect until 1 April 2040.

The development of small energy targeting electricity generating consumers is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Energy.