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New rules on public support for projects in environmental protection and energy

On 9 April The European Commission has adopted new rules on public support for projects in the field of environmental protection and energy.
See the press release here.
The Guidelines themselves are here.

The press release says:

"The guidelines will support Member States in reaching their 2020 climate targets, while addressing the market distortions that may result from subsidies granted to renewable energy sources. To this end, the guidelines promote a gradual move to market-based support for renewable energy. They also provide criteria on how Member States can relieve energy intensive companies that are particularly exposed to international competition from charges levied for the support of renewables. Furthermore, the guidelines include new provisions on aid to energy infrastructure and generation capacity to strengthen the internal energy market and ensure security of supply ...

Key features of the guidelines include:

  • Gradual introduction of market based mechanisms: ...
  • Promoting competitiveness of European industry: ...
  • Supporting cross-border energy infrastructure to further the Single European Energy Market: ...
  • Another new feature is to permit aid to secure adequate electricity generation when there is a real risk of insufficient electricity generation capacity. ..

The 2008 State aid Guidelines on Environmental Protection (see MEMO/08/31) included assessment criteria for state aid measures in 12 different areas, such as improving environmental performance beyond or in the absence of compulsory EU standards, supporting waste management activities, energy saving or remediation of contaminated sites.

During the six years of their application, a large part of expenditure assessed under the 2008 Guidelines has served to promote energy from renewable energy sources. Increasingly over the last years, state aid has also been granted for energy measures that fell outside the scope of the Guidelines, such as energy infrastructure or security of supply, for which the Guidelines did not include compatibility criteria. In the absence of specific criteria, such aid was examined by the Commission under the more general provisions on State aid established in Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The adoption of the new guidelines was preceded by three public consultations of Member States and stakeholders, starting in July 2012. In December 2013 the Commission consulted the public on a draft (see IP/13/1282). The adoption of the energy and environmental state aid guidelines is part of the Commission's State Aid Modernisation agenda (see IP/12/458)."