UK joins European sun power associations in urging EU to think again about state-aid

British Photovoltaic AssociationThe 28 trade associations representing national photo-voltaic industries in the EU – including the British Photovoltaic Association – have rejected the EU’s propoed new rules on state aid and have urged Competition Commissioner Almunia to ‘think again.’

The associations have declared that the proposed new rules would hamper the development of renewable energy rather than facilitate it.

In an open letter, the European Photo Voltaic Association (EPVA) says: “The European Union has set national renewable energy targets for 2020 as a stepping stone towards a truly sustainable energy future.

 “Reaching these targets will require continued investments during the six coming years. In this regard, the upcoming Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines (EEAG) for 2014-2020 could help Member States address in a cost-efficient manner the remaining market failures renewables are still confronted with effective and successful development of solar PV electricity and other renewable technologies in Europe

 “However, the distinction between so-called “deployed” and “less-deployed” technologies would create barriers to new entrants in markets where renewables are still under-developed, thus endangering the establishment of a level playing field among investors across Europe.

“By requiring different technologies to compete for support in a technology neutral bidding process, the draft EEAG would unduly constrain Member States’ technology mixes and undermine their capability to reach efficiently their 2020 national binding renewables target. Such an approach would also significantly slow down the development of promising renewable energy technologies which have not yet fully achieved their cost-decline potential.

“The lack of flexibility with regard to the adaptation of existing support schemes and the proposed obligation for Member States to switch to mechanisms which have not demonstrated their effectiveness would create further uncertainty for investors.

 “Some proposals are clearly decoupled from the objective of State Aid guidelines, which is to ensure that aid is granted in line with the Treaty provisions. For example, grid stability concerns and cross-border cooperation between Member States are already addressed by the Renewable Energy Directive, this is not the role of the State Aid guidelines.

 “As 28 industry associations representative of the photovoltaic (PV) sector of the whole European Union, we are however deeply concerned that the EEAG proposals recently put forward by the European Commission will not only miss such an opportunity, but hamper the cost-effective and successful development of solar PV electricity and other renewable technologies in Europe:

“We strongly believe that a cost-efficient development of renewables in Europe is possible if State Aid is granted on the basis of tailor-made, technology-specific support mechanisms. Experience has indeed shown that technology-specific support is the best way to avoid

 “We therefore ask you to revise the draft Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines”.

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