On Monday 20 March, the Government of Aragon approved the new Decree-Law 1/2023, to promote its own energy model based on renewable energies and local consumption. This is a series of urgent measures to accelerate the deployment of renewables, improve industrial competitiveness and attract investment to the region. It will be a competitive factor, which will help to reduce the electricity bills of Aragonese citizens and companies.
The general objectives of the decree-law are to promote new forms of consumption and self-consumption that are integrated into the grid without affecting its stability and economic viability, reducing the losses inherent in the transmission and distribution grid, and thus favouring a lower price for energy generated and consumed locally. In other words, the aim is to promote local consumption (residential or productive) that leads to a globally efficient grid and, furthermore, to ensure the sustainability of the resulting model.
To this end, the decree considers a series of measures:
Promote local energy consumption, in all possible forms and formats. This local consumption is based on supply via direct lines and is complementary to the grid. Local electricity consumption projects may be declared to be of public utility and social interest and, therefore, priority projects with associated renewable generation.
Direct lines may be constructed in the following cases: for stand-alone plants generating electricity from renewable sources; plants intended for self-consumption without surplus; plants with installed power in excess of what they can evacuate according to their access and connection permits, whether hybridised or not; and plants producing liquid and gaseous renewable fuels of non-biological origin (such as hydrogen).
Such direct lines shall be considered as an integral part of the electricity generation facilities and shall not require prior administrative authorisation and construction consent.
Promote the deployment of renewable energies in the Aragonese territory, in their various forms, thus increasing the level of energy self-sufficiency and diversification.
Promote the penetration of renewables, both for residential consumers and for the business sector in Aragon, encouraging different legal figures that promote self-consumption.
In this way, energy communities are regulated as legal entities based on the open and voluntary participation of their members and whose main objective is to offer environmental, economic or social benefits rather than financial profitability.
Energy communities can be made up of anything from neighbours to industrial estates or agricultural cooperatives. They are classified into: (a) citizen energy communities and (b) renewable energy communities.
In addition, a register will be created in the Department of Industry for energy communities and a specific modality will be established for projects of priority interest, which will include both the investment project or action and the associated renewable energy production facilities.
The regional administration will promote informal agreements or agreements with municipalities, distribution network managers and marketers to establish coordinated management procedures to simplify and speed up the creation, start-up and operation of energy communities and other forms of collective consumption.
The legal figure of the demand aggregator is also defined. Demand aggregation consists of the combination by a natural or legal person, acting as an aggregator, of multiple customer consumptions or generated electricity for sale, purchase or auction in any electricity market.
To promote self-consumption in Aragon. To this end, production facilities close to consumption facilities and connection to the internal grid are defined, and measures on self-consumption with and without surpluses are described.
To define and enable the operation of closed distribution networks located entirely within the territory of the Autonomous Community of Aragon, for the distribution of electricity in a geographically limited industrial, commercial or shared services area.
Promote the optimisation of the use of electricity production plants, guaranteeing their environmental and economic efficiency, so that not a single watt that can be generated is wasted, even if it does not fit into the grids due to capacity, by allocating it to local consumption.
Protect the landscape and cultural values of the Aragonese territory, strategic agricultural land and guarantee the exercise of regional and municipal competences in the area of spatial planning. Ensure that production facilities are entirely at the disposal of consumers, in coherence with the environmental and economic impacts endured, and not only at the service of the networks.
To create the Aragonese Energy Solidarity Fund, with the aim of promoting economic development and combating depopulation in territories that generate energy from renewable sources, such as hydro, geothermal, wind and photovoltaic. This Fund will be used to finance actions to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency, decentralisation of networks and energy self-consumption, energy-efficient housing, sustainable mobility, water efficiency and saving, fair energy transition, biodiversity conservation and the fight against its loss, energy efficiency of public facilities, reduction of polluting emissions, research, innovation, communication and education on climate change, adaptation and reduction of the vulnerability of natural spaces, economic development and the fight against depopulation in municipalities directly or indirectly affected by energy generation facilities from renewable sources.