|Standard imbalance and connection charges to be borne by renewable sources under the new draft GBER Regulation|
|Monday, 10 June 2013 11:46|
Acknowledging a patchwork of existing European renewable promotion schemes may provide to the contrary, the requirements proposed in the latest version of the draft GBER Regulation propose that if a renewable electricity is supplied to the grid, the producers or where relevant aggregators should be subject to standard obligations regarding network connection and network connection charges and should bear responsibility, in financial terms, for all deviations (imbalances) between their scheduled and actual generation within a given imbalance settlement period. The said responsibility can be outsourced to other balance responsible parties, subject to commercial arrangements.
The key issue is also that the State aid to electricity generation from non-renewable sources and to energy infrastructures will not be exempt from the EC notification 'in view of their high distortive potential impact on the internal energy market.' Such investments will have to be notified to the European Commission to assess their compatibility with the internal market.
The significance of the GBER Regulation (Draft Commission Regulation declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty) consists in that it indicates State aid categories exempted from the notification requirements. The earlier version of the said legislative instrument comes from 2008 and expires in the end of 2013.
The general intention is the reviewed GBER contribute to a high level of environmental protection and thus to sustainable growth by facilitating measures incentivising undertakings to achieve a higher level of environmental protection than required by EU standards and facilitatating early adaptation to future EU standards for SMEs. The European Commission also want the reviewed GBER facilitate the granting of environmental aid in the areas of resource efficiency (energy saving and energy efficiency, cogeneration), climate change and energy measures, while a new category is added, support for district heating. New provisions are introduced on aid for the remediation of contaminated sites where the polluter cannot be identified.
Aid for the production of biofuels is proposed to be exempt from the notification requirement only to the extent that the investments are used exclusively for the production of sustainable biofuels.
The aid intensities are left open at this stage of the draft GBER consultation.
Draft GBER models to support renewables
The draft GBER laid down the general rule that aid for the promotion of energy from renewable energy sources will be compatible with the internal market within the meaning of Article 107(3) of the Treaty and will be exempt from the notification requirement of Article 108(3) of the Treaty, provided the conditions laid down in Article 34 of the draft GBER and in Chapter I of the draft GBER (covering general rules) are fulfilled.
Draft GBER proposes the two alternative models to support to renewables:
1) an investment model - on the basis of total costs of the "green" investment.
2) an auctioning model - on the basis of technology neutral, open and competitive bidding processes,
The particulars are covered by Article 34 of the draft GBER. Under the first model (let's call it "Track 1") the investment aid will be granted to newly installed capacities with a specified maximum capacity (to be laid down at the later stage). The eligible costs will be investment costs necessary to achieve the higher level of environmental protection. The costs not directly linked to the achievement of the higher level of environmental protection will not be eligible.
It is appropriate to add that standard balancing responsibilities under the draft GBER Regulation mean the balancing responsibilities normally applicable in a Member States to electricity producers, including to conventional electricity producers.
The EC proposed regime for the Track 2 are presented in the box. It also refers to the similar rule. If the proposed rules materialise, it will mean for renewable electricity sources the crucial change in the business regulatory environment - at least in some Member States.