The European Commission has today released its state aid guidelines for assessing public support projects in the field of energy and the environment for the period 2014 to 2020. Under the new regime the German government shall be able to largely uphold reductions on the EEG surcharge, though reductions will have to be scaled back and can only be granted to a more limited group of companies.
Tag Archive for 'state aid'
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The German Federal Government on 28 February 2014 brought an action before the General Court of the European Union against the opening of an in-depth investigation of the Commission to examine whether the reduction granted to energy-intensive companies on the surcharge promoting renewable energy sources in Germany (“EEG-surcharge”) is compatible with EU state aid rules. State Secretary Baake stressed that the government still intends to reach a negotiated solution with the Commission.
The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) has published information regarding the reduction of the surcharge promoting renewable energy sources in Germany (“EEG-surcharge”) for energy-intensive companies and rail operators. According to these figures the amount of privileged companies increased by 378 companies from 1,720 in 2013 to 2098 in 2014.
As part of a broader initiative to modernise EU State aid rules, the European Commission has put up a proposal for revised State aid guidelines for assessing public support projects in the field of energy and the environment for consultation. The Commission proposes to extend the scope of the existing guidelines, which cover the period until end 2014, beyond the environmental field into the energy area and to clarify and simplify the assessment of state aid measures. The guidelines shall be applicable until 2020.
As previously expected, the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether the reduction granted to energy-intensive companies on the surcharge promoting renewable energy sources in Germany (“EEG-surcharge”) is compatible with EU state aid rules. The Commission will also investigate the reduction on the EEG-surcharge granted to suppliers that source 50% of their electricity portfolio from domestic renewable electricity (“green electricity privilege”).
According to recent press reports, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Alumia has announced that the European Commission will open an in-depth investigation of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, “EEG”) before Christmas. The EEG promotes renewable energy sources by stipulating fixed feed-in tariffs. In order to ensure that in particular industrial customers with a high level of energy costs and which are subject to international competition are not forced to close done operations in Germany, the EEG allows for certain exemptions of energy-intensive companies. It still seems unclear whether the European Commission only will continue its investigation regarding these exemptions or also regarding further elements of the feed-in tariff scheme of the EEG.
The European Commission has today released its Communication “Delivering the internal electricity market and making the most of public intervention”, together with a set of Staff Working Documents on important aspects of the Communication. The package shall give guidance to Member States on state interventions aimed at preventing market distortions and providing secure and affordable energy. The documents cover in particular generation adequacy, the design of renewables support schemes, the use of and model agreements for renewable energy cooperation mechanisms, and demand side flexibility mechanisms.
The federal elections shall take place only two days from today. We conclude our series by checking whether and to what extent the competing parties agendas have clear positions on German energy politics in a European context. This covers in particular how they support the integration of the German energy market into the European market and the alignment of German energy policy with European developments.
After publication on 6 August 2013 in the Federal Register (Bundesanzeiger), the revised guideline on state aid measures regarding indirect CO2 expenses has come into force. The revised guideline was approved by the European Commission.
The European Commission has today adopted two decisions on German support schemes in favour of energy-intensive industries. Both decisions are on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), not the EEG surcharge or grid fees.