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Regionkommittén (ReK)

EU: s nya regler för statligt stöd riskerar att undergräva engagemang för förnybar energi, säger Regionkommittén

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LightbulbSolarPanelEurope’s local and regional authorities have argued that new rules on state aid must promote green energy and continue to allow governments to provide subsidies for renewables. The EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR) warns that the current guidelines set ceilings that are too low restricting the number of green energy companies able to receive state aid which could undermine the EU’s efforts to creating a more “competitive, secure and sustainable” energy market. The EU must also seize the opportunity to bring an end to subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

The Committee was reacting to the European Commission’s draft energy state aid guidelines which are expected to be finalized on 9 April and seek to promote sustainable growth, strengthen the internal market and streamline the decision-making process. Whilst recognising that state aid can create unfair advantage, the Committee argues that new rules should give member states the flexibility to support renewable energy allowing them to deliver on their climate-change obligations. The Committee’s yttrande antogs den 5 april och utarbetades av Gusty Graas (ALDE), ledamot av kommunalrådet i Bettembourg och Luxemburgs nationella parlament, gör det klart att "konkurrens och existensen av en fri marknad för energi inte är mål i sig".

Speaking in Brussels, Graas said: “State aid for renewables must contribute to a safer and more secure energy supply, a cleaner environment and a stronger job market. At the same time, it is clear that innovative technologies can only prosper under fair and competitive market conditions. We need to take a pragmatic approach that involves the local level and focusses on the sustainable development of both the economy and ecology.”

The Committee questions the proposal to make feed-in tariff for renewables – where green producers receive a fixed price per kWh – the exception and focus instead on tradable green certificates. This will compromise confidence amongst investors and undermine Europe’s decarbonisation plans, the Committee argues. The ceiling for renewable energy companies to be eligible for subsidies should be raised from the proposed 1MW to 5MW and 15MW for wind power. Subsidies for fossil fuels should be axed and governments blocked from subsidising nuclear energy. Just as national governments are free to decide their own energy-mix, local and regional authorities should also be given flexibility to decide how to use financial assistance for environmentally sound technology projects.

Förnybar energi kan bidra till att få slut på energifattigdomen i Europa

Med uppskattningar som tyder på att så många som 150 miljoner människor är drabbade av energifattigdom i Europa, betonade kommittén också att EU måste göra denna fråga till en politisk prioritet. Genom en yttrande skriven av Christian Illedits (PES), ledamot av Österrikes regionala parlament i Burgenland, avvisar utskottet uppfattningen att investeringar i förnybar energi är kontraproduktivt för att leverera energi till överkomliga priser. Kommittén är tydlig i sin förebråelse och hävdar att de samhälleliga och miljömässiga kostnaderna för fossila bränslen och kärnenergi vida överstiger alla andra energikostnader. Sunda lokala och regionala investeringar i energieffektivitet och förnybar energi kan skapa jobb och lindra energifattigdom.

Illedits said: “Europe’s local and regional governments have sent a strong signal that European politics needs to urgently tackle the problem of spiralling energy poverty. The right path to dealing with this worrying issue must be through renewable energy which requires investment at a regional level. Using EU structural funds, my region has become a true model for this approach: by investing in green energy locally we are starting to win the battle against energy poverty.”

Annons

As a starting point, Illedits called on the European Union to agree an EU-wide definition of energy poverty which allows flexibility and takes into account the different situations and regional contexts. Such a definition, the Committee proposes, needs to be built around a number of indicators including a 10% share or more of a household’s net disposable income spent on energy. To address the issue of providing affordable energy for all, while also investing to create an EU market that is sustainable and less vulnerable to energy dependency, the Committee also calls for the speedy completion of the internal energy market.

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