Commission approves Greek state aid for renewable electricity auctions

On 4 January 2018, the Commission announced that it had approved a Greek auction programme to support both renewable energy production and high efficiency cogeneration under EU state aid rules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Greece will bring down costs for renewable energy with competitive auctions to support renewable electricity generation. This is very good and the scheme will facilitate Greece’s efforts to reach its 2020 climate goals.”

Under the scheme Greece will organise regular, competitive auctions to grant support to renewable energy sources:

  • In 2018, Greece will organise separate auctions for wind and solar installations in order to determine their market potential;
  • As of 2019, joint auctions for both wind and solar installations will be held to increase competition and reduce the cost for consumers of renewable energy in Greece.

State support for other renewable energy technologies will be subject to auctions as soon as they become more mature in the Greek electricity market, i.e. when they reach a predefined level of market penetration.

Moreover, Greece will evaluate the bidding processes in 2020, before designing bidding processes for the period 2021-2025.

The Commission assessed the Greek scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular the 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. The Guidelines require competitive auctions for renewables support since 2017, so as to ensure that the use of public funds is limited to the minimum and there is no overcompensation.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Greek auctioning scheme will boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, in line with EU environmental objectives, while any distortion of competition caused by the state support is minimised.

This follows the Commission’s decision of November 2016 which approved a support scheme for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources and high efficiency cogeneration in Greece (SA.44666).

The Renewable Energy Directive established targets for all Member States’ shares of energy renewable energy sources in gross final energy consumption by 2020. For Greece, that target is 18% of domestic energy supplies produced from renewable sources by 2020.