The European Commission has declared German plans to grant EUR 1.6 billion public financing for decommissioning and subsequently closing eight lignite-fired power plants to be in line with EU state aid rules.
Tag Archive for 'state aid'
The EU’s General Court today sided with the Commission’s view that the EEG 2012 involved state aid. It rejected Germany’s arguments to the contrary, seeking annulment of a Commission decision of 25 November 2014 on a scheme for the support of renewable electricity and of energy-intensive users.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has started the consulting process on the 2016 revision of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act EEG. With this bill the government will use auctioning as the standard system to establish support levels for renewable energy, starting mainly in 2017.
The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said that an agreement has been reached with the lignite power station operators Mibrag, RWE and Vattenfall on putting 2.7 GW first into a special reserve and then later close the plants down. Minister Gabriel considers this to be important for reaching Germany’s climate targets.
Measures to increase energy-efficient renovations of buildings and energy efficiency in general as well as other measures included in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NAPE) are the biggest items aside from broadband expansion that increased state aid in the federal budget for 2016, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) said. Government approved the ministries 25th report on state aid yesterday.
In early July the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) presented key points for measures to further promote the German energy transition (Energiewende) towards a mainly renewable energy supply. They included the proposal to gradually transfer some of the oldest coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 GW to a capacity reserve (for which a cost-based remuneration would be paid) and close down the plants four years thereafter. The department of European Affairs that advises Parliament (Bundestag) has expressed doubt about the compatibility of the plans with EU law, the spokeswoman for climate policy for the Green Party and media sources said citing from the unpublished report.
A funding regulation (Förderrichtlinie) by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) provides the possibility for commercial enterprises and regional authorities to apply for one-time grants for highly-efficient large fuel-cell based CHP plants supplying industrial plants or large (residential) property with an electrical capacity of up to 20 kW.
On 29 April 2015 the European Commission launched its first sector inquiry under EU state aid rules into national capacity mechanisms. The aim is to collect information that will allow the Commission to detect potential distortions of competition or trade in the EU single market and devise appropriate legislative iniatives for an electricity market design in line with the EU’s Energy Union Strategy. The inquiry is broader than many may think: It is by no means restricted to what has been discussed under the “capacity market” heading in Germany recently, but for example also covers key elements of the “electricity market 2.0” option as it also contains important capacity reserve elements. As the inquiry may also provide the basis for future state aid actions and policy decisions of the Commission (which may also include repayment of unlawful state aid), the inquiry should not be underestimated.
The European Commission has found German plans to support the construction of 20 offshore wind farms under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission concluded that the project would further EU energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
On 2 February 2015 the German government took legal action against a decision by the European Commission of 25 November 2014. The decision qualified the Renewable Energy Sources Act 2012 (EEG 2012) as state aid, but for the most part found it to be in line with EU state aid rules. The government is seeking clarification whether the EEG 2012 constitutes state aid as well as on the interpretation of the term state aid under European law as such. The amendment of the EEG 2012, the EEG 2014 that has been in force since 1 August 2014 and was approved by the Commission in July 2014, is not part of the legal action.