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State Aid Rules: Commission denies potential of small-scale renewables

(PresseBox) (Brussels, ) Today, the European Commission will present its new Environmental and Energy Aid Guidelines (EEAG) for the period 2014-2020. EPIA warns that this revised State Aid regime discriminates against small-scale generation and could badly harm the Member States' ability to design efficient and adequate measures to support the uptake of different renewable energy technologies.

In its new EEAG, the European Commission appears to envision an electricity system where renewables are mainly developed by large players, adopting a series of discriminatory measures against small-scale generation.

Following this updated regime, new and revised national support schemes will have to fit a new frame. While the Commission's Guidelines are supposedly intended to integrate renewable electricity in the market, EPIA points out that these rules are in fact creating new barriers to the integration of small-scale renewables into the European power mix.

"A tendering schemes inevitably comes along with risks and transaction costs, making it unfit for rooftop PV systems and other small-scale electricity generators. The 1 MW threshold under which a different support regime is possible, is not enough: Cooperatives and community projects, for instance, will now be forced to place their bids in a scheme much more suited to the largest energy players", stated Alexandre Roesch, EPIA Head of Regulatory Affairs.

In a Detailed Briefing, EPIA also identifies other discriminatory measures, such as the imposition of standard balancing responsibilities to variable small-scale generators while these are not allowed by current market rules to reduce their imbalances, or the promotion of technology-neutral market premiums and quota-based systems as the main types of support schemes.

"To drive a better market integration of renewables forward, the Commission should rather focus on removing existing barriers on the market, instead of forcing renewables into a market which is simply not fit for them", concluded Mr. Roesch.

European Photovoltaic Industry Association

EPIA - the European Photovoltaic Industry Association - represents members active along the whole solar PV value chain: from silicon, cells and module production to systems development and PV electricity generation as well as marketing and sales. EPIA's mission is to give its global membership a distinct and effective voice in the European market, especially in the EU.