Power back-up schemes in six Member States approved
9 February, 2018
The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, electricity capacity mechanisms in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Poland. The Commission found that the measures will contribute to ensuring security of supply whilst preserving competition in the Single Market.
The six capacity mechanisms which concern more than half of the EU population comply with the bloc's rules aimed at ensuring a level playing field, it added.
They cover a range of different types of mechanisms that address the specific need in each Member State, namely strategic reserves, market-wide mechanisms and measures specifically promoting demand response. But if they are not well-designed, they may cause higher electricity prices for consumers, give undue advantages to certain energy operators or hinder electricity flows across EU borders. That is why the Commission has, in close cooperation with the relevant national authorities, assessed six mechanisms for each country to ensure they meet strict criteria under EU state aid rules. The Commission has also taken into account insights from its 2016 state aid sector inquiry on capacity mechanisms. The decisions complement the Commission's Energy Union Strategy to deliver secure, sustainable and competitive energy in Europe.
“Capacity mechanisms can help to safeguard security of electricity supply, but they must be designed so as to avoid distortions of competition in energy markets,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
The Commission said the schemes in Germany and Belgium are temporary strategic reserves, which are available only in emergencies. Italy and Poland were cleared to set up market-wide schemes to offset structural security of supply problems. The schemes in France and Greece pay users to reduce their power consumption in hours when electricity is scarce.