The European Commission has approved an amended version of its existing support scheme for high-efficiency cogeneration and renewable energy, ruling that it has not breached state aid rules.
In May 2015, Slovenia made the amendments to make it more cost-effective and improve the integration of renewable electricity and combined heat and power into the market.
One significant amendment included the introduction of a tender process to select who will receive support under the scheme and determine the appropriate level of that support.
In particular, Slovenia has introduced a two-round tender process designed to increase competition between potential beneficiaries and ensure support goes to the best value projects. This is in line with the Commission’s Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy 2014-2020, which require that from January 2017 such aid is granted on the basis of a clear, transparent, non-discriminatory competitive bidding process open to all producers of renewable electricity.
Furthermore, the amended scheme introduces a market premium for operators above 500kW. In line with the Guidelines, operators of installations above this threshold will have to offer their electricity on the market and will receive their support in the form of a premium paid on top of the market price. Operators below 500kW can continue to receive a feed-in tariff.
This support scheme is financed by a surcharge levied on electricity consumers. Slovenia has also notified to the Commission plans to lower the financial burden on undertakings in certain energy-intensive sectors, which will benefit from a reduced levy. The Commission has found that these reductions are in line with the Guidelines, which allow Member States to provide reductions to undertakings in certain sectors that are particularly energy-intensive and exposed to international competition, in order to ensure their competitiveness.