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Showing posts from January, 2010

Does the Supply of Electricity below the Market Price Constitute Illegal State Aid?

This is one of the questions that the European Commission is currently reviewing after the opening of an in-depth investigation in an ad hoc case against Greece.

Two sets of measures are at stake. The first measures concern suspected preferential economic advantages conceeded to Aluminium of Greece, an aluminium production company, by the national state own utility Public Power Corporation. The investigation is based on two complaints addressed to the Commission and relative to the alleged imcompatible state aids granted to Aluminium of Greece, i.e.: lower electricity prices, tax exemptions, deferral of taxation obligations, loans under privileged terms, land expropriation, exclusive use of seashore and sea area.

In its press release, the European Commission talks about a presumption of state aid. However, as it underlines, most of the aids were granted before Greece's accession to the EU, and constitute "existing aid", no subject to reimbursement. "Those privileges w…

ACER: First Nominations Published

The names of the appointed members of the Administrative Board of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union of 28 January.

Among the five appointed members is a French man, Philippe Guillard. He was previously co-director for energy, Directorate Energy and Climate, at the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, and the Sea.
In order to ensure continuity in the work of the Administrative Board, the terms are of different length. The one of the French member is of four years, starting on 28 January 2010.

A next spot will detail the role and functioning rules of ACER.

Reference: Council Decision of 22 December 2009 appointing five members and five alternates of the Administrative Board of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, JOEU 28.1.2010 C21/1.

On Defining Energy Precarity by Law - The French Debate

The political context - One of the follow-up initiatives of the French Environmental Roundtables (Grenelle de l'Environnement, hereafter "Grenelle") was focussed on energy consumption in the housing sector and the situations of energy precarity (précarité énergétique). This took of the name of Grenelle Housing Plan (Plan Bâtiment Grenelle). The concerned expressed during the Grenelle were not immediately transposed in concrete proposals. The request for the elaboration of a national action was formally put forward on 11 September 2009 by the a letter of mission from the State Secretary to the Minister of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea. Latter on, the efforts on energy precarity at households' level were strengthened by the announced financial support granted to the National Agency for Housing (Agence Nationale de l'Habitat) under the National Loan (Emprunt National) to be launched. In order to answer the political requests expressed by the F…

A Glimpse Over the Agenda of the Spanish Presidency of the EU: Limited Indirect Effects on Energy Policy

The Agenda presented by the Spanish presidency of the EU that started on 1 January 2010 is meant to be part of a joint programme framed together with the two following presidencies, i.e. Belgium and Hungary.

The Spanish government defined four priorities for its Presidency:
the full and effective application of the Lisbon Treaty;the guarantee of the economic recovery of Europe through greater co-ordination of every member state and the approval of the European strategy for sustainable growth for 2020;the reinforcement of the presence and influence of the EU in the new world order;the focus to be put on European citizens, their rights and freedoms, as they should be "at the centre of EU policy".This means that priority is not directly given to energy policy. If this policital agenda may affect energy policy, that will be indirectly, through in particular: the focus on European citizens rights; the European strategy for sustainable growth and the incentives towards a "green…