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CT1 - 6th Plenary Meeting in Brussels

|   CT 1

Highlights Core Theme 1: RES Electricity

Headline 1: Experience with the Provisions on RES-E Support Schemes in the EEAG, Interactions with the New Requirements of the RED-II and Outlook to the State Aid Fitness Check (Part I)

The current State Aid Rules for Environmental Protection and Energy (EEAG) are due to expire by the end of 2020. The Commission intends to prolong them for two years, until end 2022, to provide predictability and legal certainty, whilst preparing for a possible future update. On 7 January 2019, the Commission has launched in line with the Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines the evaluation of the rules, which were adopted as part of the State aid modernisation. The evaluation takes the form of a “fitness check”. It aims to provide a basis for decisions, to be taken by the Commission in the future, about whether to further prolong or possibly update the rules. The session focused on the role played by the EEAG on the legal design of national RES support schemes and the interactions between Art. 4 RED II and the EEAG. Participants had the opportunity to share their experiences and provide input for the revision of the guidelines in 2022, while two Member States also presented the revision of their national support schemes.

Headline 2: Self-Consumption and Renewable Energy Communities (Focus on Electricity)

Community-driven energy projects have been part of the European energy landscape for years. Various types of community-based projects and initiatives have emerged with the aim of empowering energy consumers by having a direct stake in the production and consumption of distributed energy sources. The Clean Energy Package (CEP) formally introduced the concepts of citizen energy communities (CEC) (under the IEM Directive) and renewable energy communities (REC) (under the RED II) into European legislation for the first time. Given the diverse reality of (collective) self-consumption schemes and of existing models of energy communities, participating experts used this opportunity to discuss experiences with certain aspects of the new provisions, while shedding light on possible approaches to the implementation of the provisions on energy communities.

Headline 3: Experience with the Provisions on RES-E Support Schemes in the EEAG, Interactions with the New Requirements of the RED-II and Outlook to the State Aid Fitness
Check (Part II) – Focus Topic: Cross-border Auctioning in RED II and EEAG, Presentation and Discussion of AURES II Cooperation Case Studies

The discussions on the Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy 2014 – 2020 (EEAG) and the interactions with the design of national RES support schemes were continued during this session. The basic principles of support schemes to incentivise market integration and market-based mechanisms enshrined in the EEAG have now been taken over in the new RED II framework. Indeed, the RED II aims at establishing a common European framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources and has to be transposed into national legislation by 30 June 2021. Besides setting a binding Union target of at least 32% for the overall share of RES in the Union’s gross final consumption of energy, it now also lays down all the relevant rules for financial support of RES.
The session provided a deeper understanding of how the revision of the EEAG foreseen for 2022 will have to reflect the changes in the RED II. Furthermore, the session explored in which constellations the EEAG provisions will continue to have an impact on the design of national support schemes (specifically, cross-border auctions) and in which not. CT1 participants concluded that the financing
mechanism could become a regular instrument, thereby complementing bilateral cooperation mechanisms and statistical transfer. However, they pointed out that public acceptance is still an issue and that a good understanding and communication of the benefits is required. Though grid connection costs are an issue for a number of “host” countries, several countries are already looking into cross-border-auctions already with rather concrete plans.

Headline 4: EU Legal Framework for Renewable Power Plants without Financial Support -Priority Dispatch, Balancing Responsibility, Redispatch, Power Purchasing Agreements

The fourth session of CT1 provided an overview of the relevant provisions of the RED II and IEM framework for RES installations operating without financial support (end of support time or no support entitlement). Furthermore, it explored the applicability of provisions such as priority connection, priority dispatch, balancing responsibility, trading etc. to unsubsidised RES installations, while also addressing the role of PPAs (present or future) in the context of unsubsidised RES. The discussions during the session gave participants the opportunity to share their experiences with the treatment of unsubsidised RES installations in their national legislative framework as well as to jointly identify best practices. Two Member States presented their provisions for RES installations for which support time had ended and the challenges that they encountered. By the end of the session, participants came to the conclusion that for the EU legal framework governing the deployment of RES makes no distinction whether they are supported or not. Differentiation is rather based on existing vs. new, and small vs. large installations. In many Member States, this topic is still relatively new and it remains to be seen whether RES installations falling out of their support scheme will keep running.