Of Surcharges and Supervision: German Renewable Energy Act Is State Aid

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Table of Contents: I. Controversy around Germany's renewable energy act. – II. Two questions, one answer: the EEG as State aid. – II.1. The State aid nature of the EEG surcharge. – II.2. The exemptions for electricity-intensive undertakings. – III. Distinguishing PreussenElektra AG v. Schleswag AG. – IV. Towards the europeanization of national energy policy.

Abstract: Germany's former law on renewable energy constitutes State aid illegal under EU law. The General Court dismissed Germany’s action for annulment of a Commission Decision, finding that a renewable energy surcharge payable by electricity consumers for the benefit of those electricity producers using renewable sources effectively equalled the distribution of State funds. The private energy suppliers tasked with the administration of the compensation scheme remained under extensive control by German authorities. An exemption of certain energy-intensive industries from the surcharge was a further element of the law that violated EU State aid rules. Departing from earlier jurisprudence, the General Court through this judgment effectively enhanced the Commission's capacity to interfere with the Member States' national energy policy.

Keywords: State aid – Art. 107, para. 1, TFEU – renewable energy – EEG surcharge – use of State resources – compensation of electricity-intensive undertakings.

European Papers, Vol. 1, 2016, No 3, European Forum, Insight of 22 November 2016, pp. 1055-1060
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/86

* Law clerk (Rechtsreferendar), Kammergericht Berlin, sklinkmueller@gmail.com.



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