As part of a wider European modernization effort of competition rules, the European Commission is reviewing their (binding) guidelines on state-aid for environmental protection. The new guidelines will be published and enter into operation by mid 2014, after the last round of public consultation (opened on December 18th for 8 weeks, until February 14th).
With this revision, the EC aims to update the existing conditions under which Member States can provide state aid for supporting renewable energy producers, among other technologies that contribute to the European common goals on climate change action (in this case the 2020 Energy and Climate package) and security of supply.
The existing guidelines on state-aid for environmental protection (2008-2014) provide sufficient flexibility to Member states to decide which type of support (e.g. Feed-intariff) can be better used for each of the technologies, and how the level of support is calculated. The European Commission, with this review, is however trying to set very concreted criteria for future support, pre-describing which the most suitable schemes are based on market penetration levels and imposing strict rules on how to calculate the level of support.
The draft guidelines proposal is based on the recommendations from the Commission’s recently published communication “Guidance for RES support schemes design”, which was published on November 5th, as part of a package called “Public intervention on the internal energy market”, which addressed not only renewables support, but also generation adequacy (including capacity payments) and demand side participation.