EU approves Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity

EU approves Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity
EU approves Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity under state aid rules.

The European Commission has approved two new Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity and high efficiency co-generation in the Flanders region, saying that they do not conflict with state aid rules.

The proposals for both of the Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity and co-generation were judged to be in line with EU state aid rules, having assessed them specifically against its 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. Proposals for the two schemes were initially presented in October of last year.

How do the schemes work?

The proposal contained two Belgian certificates schemes for renewable electricity and high efficiency co-generation, respectively.

Under a new green certificates scheme, renewable electricity producers would receive one green certificate for each MWh of energy they generate. The new combined heat and power certificates scheme, meanwhile, would offer one certificate to high-efficiency co-generation installations for each energy saving they realise.

The renewable electricity producers and high efficiency co-generation installations who receive certificates can then sell them in the market, to earn additional revenues on top the electricity market price.

How did the schemes conform to EU state aid rules?

The schemes qualify for state aid under the provisions of the 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, because they will support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources and high-efficiency cogeneration, in line with EU environmental objectives.

The commission clarified that “any distortion of competition caused by the public support is minimised” within the proposals, which is a pre-requisite for state aid support. Further, both schemes will contribute towards Belgium’s 2020 target of producing 13% of its total energy needs from renewable sources.

The schemes also aim to support the EU’s wider targets outlined under the Paris Climate Agreement, to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2°C. An official version of the decision to approve the project will soon be published in the EU’s state aid register.

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