European Commission Approves €400 Mn Renewable Energy aid for Denmark

The European Commission has approved an aid scheme worth EUR 400 million to help Denmark reach its renewable energy targets

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Danish aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable sources. The measure will help Denmark reach its renewable energy targets without unduly distorting competition and will contribute to the European objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

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Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said “this Danish scheme will contribute to substantial reductions in greenhouse emissions, supporting the objectives of the Green Deal. It will provide important support to a wide range of technologies generating renewable electricity, in line with EU rules. The wide eligibility criteria and the selection of the beneficiaries through a competitive bidding process will ensure the best value for taxpayers money and will minimise possible distortions of competition.”

The Danish scheme

As per the EC, Denmark notified the Commission of its intention to introduce a new scheme to support electricity produced from renewable energy sources, namely onshore wind turbines, offshore wind turbines, wave power plants, hydroelectric power plants and solar PV. The measure follows a previous Danish aid scheme for electricity from renewable energy approved by the Commission in August 2018, which expired on December 31, 2019.

The aid will be awarded through a competitive tendering procedure organised in 2021-2024 and will take the form of a two-way contract-for-difference premium. Under this model, where the electricity price is below a reference price established based on an auction, the State pays the renewable electricity producer the difference between the actual electricity price and the reference one. 

On the other hand, where the electricity price is above the reference price, the electricity producer pays the State the difference between the actual electricity price and the reference one. This guarantees renewable energy producers long-term price stability, helping them to make the necessary investments while limiting the cost for the State. The measure has a total maximum budget of approximately EUR 400 million (DKK 3 billion). The scheme is open until 2024 and aid can be paid out for a maximum of 20 years after the renewable electricity is connected to the grid.

The Commission’s assessment

The Commission stated that it found that the aid necessary to further develop the renewable energy generation to meet Denmark’s environmental goals. It also has an incentive effect, as electricity prices do not fully cover the costs of generating electricity from renewable energy sources.

Furthermore, the aid is proportionate and limited to the minimum necessary, as the level of aid will be set through competitive tenders. Finally, also thanks to the existence of a competitive bidding process, the Commission found that the positive effects of the measure, in particular the positive environmental effects, outweigh any possible negative effects in terms of distortions to competition.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Danish scheme is in line with EU State aid rules, as it will facilitate the development of renewable electricity production from various technologies in Denmark and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the European Green Deal and without unduly distorting competition.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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