In April 2014 the Commission adopted the new Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy (EEAG), which entered into force in July.
The new guidelines describe how the Commission will assess Member States support measures aiming, interalia, at reaching their 2020 climate and energy targets, while addressing the market distortions that may result for example from subsidies granted to generation of energy from renewable 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 the financing of renewables support.
Furthermore, the new guidelines include criteria for ensuring that subsidies for energy infrastructure minimise distortions, focusing on projects that improve cross-border energy flows and promote infrastructure in Europe’s less developed regions. Another new feature is to permit aid to secure adequate electricity generation when there is a real risk of insufficient electricity generation capacity, in a manner which minimises market distortions.
The Commission also simplified procedures to implement certain State aid measures, by including several categories of environmental and energy measures in the revised General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)18. This will make it easier and quicker for public authorities to implement those measures since they do not need to obtain prior approval by the Commission.