The COME RES project, or “Community Energy for the uptake of renewables in the electricity sector. Connecting long-term visions with short-term actions,” was designed to expedite the adoption of renewable energy communities (RECs) as vital actors in the energy system of the future, as defined in the revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). COME RES adopted a multi- and transdisciplinary approach to support the development of RECs in nine European countries, namely Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. EnergyVille / VITO participated in the project as the Flemish research partner. This article presents the final results of the project and highlights its key policy lessons and recommendations for the regulatory and enabling framework for RECs in Flanders.


COME RES supported policymaking in the nine COME RES countries, particularly at the regional and national level, both directly and indirectly. The project activities were effectively synchronized with the transposition of the provisions on RECs in the REDII as well as the design and implementation of an enabling framework for RECs. EnergyVille / VITO monitored and assessed the transposition process in Flanders and facilitated and informed this process by organizing country desk meetings and policy dialogues with relevant stakeholders, market actors and policymakers. These activities were complemented by a dedicated online stakeholder survey, an in-depth assessment of the future potential of RECs and prevailing barriers and drivers for REC development. Additionally, the success factors of good practices in Flanders, such as Ecopower and ZuidrAnt, were assessed.

EnergyVille / VITO engaged in the best practice transfer activities between Flanders and the Apulia region, in Italy, and provided capacity development support and training to community energy actors and stakeholders. Finally, EnergyVille / VITO supported project partners in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Poland by drafting action plans for further REC development in close collaboration with local and regional stakeholders, market actors and policy makers.

Based on the COME RES project’s activities, some key policy lessons and recommendations were formulated regarding the regulatory and enabling framework for RECs in Flanders.

  • The transposition of REC definition, rights, obligations and possible activities can be regarded as quite advanced. However, several principles, like autonomy or proximity require further elaboration.
  • Compared to most other COME RES regions, Flanders has made progress in establishing provisions for energy sharing. However, the enabling framework for RECs remains weak and fragmented.
  • Network charges should be based on a cost-benefit analysis, so cost advantages can be allocated if and where energy communities can offer advantages to the grid.
  • Furthermore, there is a need to establish one-stop-shops that provide information, administrative, and financial support to local RECs.
  • Access for vulnerable and low-income households to RECs should be facilitated.
  • Support schemes and economic incentives specifically targeting RECs are underdeveloped. Regulations and financial support mechanisms need to be adapted to consider the specific characteristics of RECs, as they often develop small-scale projects and aim to share the energy produced amongst their members (and not to maximize self-consumption).
  • To enable local policymakers to play a more active role in promoting and advancing the development of RECs, the enabling framework should prioritize capacity building of local authorities.

Meanwhile, the Flemish government, regulator and distribution system operator are taking steps to implement the regulatory framework and further develop the enabling framework for energy sharing and RECs in Flanders. This includes launching a cost-benefit analysis on grid tariffs, facilitating access to information and tools on energy sharing (through the existing Federation of Renewable Energy Cooperatives, REScoop.Vlaanderen), operationalizing an IT system that enables energy sharing and setting up a call for tenders specifically for energy communities and energy sharing in apartment buildings.

More information about the project:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 953040.

European Union Horizon 2020


The Belgian Stakeholder Desk