The European Commission has approved measures to support Lithuanian renewable energy initiatives under EU state aid rules.
The Commission approved aid, which had already been granted under a scheme first implemented in 2012, to subsidise electricity produced from Lithuanian renewable energy sources; with an overall budget of €1.242 billion until 2029. In assessing the scheme, which is financed by a levy on consumers of electricity, the Commission found that the scheme represented an appropriate incentive to encourage uptake of renewable energy options; and that the aid provided was proportionate to its purpose and did not unduly distort competition.
A second Lithuanian renewable energy support scheme allows energy-intensive industrial consumers to pay a reduced electricity levy as of 1 January 2019. Industrial users which consume significant amounts of energy, such as companies which manufacture or produce fertilisers, will be able to obtain compensation of up to 85 per cent of the levy they have paid in the previous year if they can demonstrate an electro-intensity rate of 20 per cent or more.
The Commission found that in promoting Lithuanian renewable energy use and by extension supporting the EU’s energy and climate goals, the energy levy reduction scheme fell in line with state aid regulations. It found that the scheme enabled Lithuanian companies with a high rate of energy consumption to compete on an international level, without distorting their competitiveness either domestically or within the Single Market.
Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said of the Lithuanian renewable energy measures: “These two schemes will allow Lithuania to both continue supporting the development of renewable energy sources in the country and to preserve the competitiveness of electricity-intensive companies by reducing their contributions to the financing of this support. This will contribute to Lithuania’s transition to low carbon and environmentally sustainable energy supply, in line with the EU environmental objectives and our state aid rules.”