Polish Government Finally Considers EU State Aid Rules

Almost nine years after starting to provide state support for renewable energy, the Polish Government late last week finally started considering the European Commission's rules on state aid and unfair competition. The committee set to act on the proposed new Renewable Energy Law decided to send the bill back for more work. Apparently the Commission's enforcement action on co-firing and support for old hydro projects got some people to finally talk to lawyers! There is still a public veneer of confidence that everything is fine, but it obviously is not fine. The bill needs to be redone to meet EU legal requirements, ignored until now. See Polish Biogas Association letter to the Office of Competition.

I have advocated doing two bills to address these problems: the first modified the Green Certificate program and levelizes the support to meet all EC requirements. It excludes aid to old hydro and co-firing. The second bill adds whatever aid to co-firing that the Polish Government thinks it can convince Brussels is appropriate and lawful as well as controversial new auction procedures, which the URE itself has described as erecting more barriers to RES than the status quo (the Directive requires lowering barriers). This would allow for quick approval of the Green Certificate modifications and make the program lawful - for the first time since 2005 (since it was never notified to the EC in violation of the EU treaty). The second part will likely never be approved, but if Polish politicians feel compelled to try to make a case, they certainly can do so without jeopardizing the whole RES sector. \

Maybe last week's action was an important beginning?

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