EU under pressure to pull the plug on Greek coal aid

(EurActiv, 14 Mar 2019) Campaigners have urged the European Commission to reject a proposed aid scheme for the Greek power sector, saying the draft plan will allow “backdoor subsidies” for a new coal-fired power plant in Greece, in violation of the EU’s recently-updated electricity market rules.

The Commission’s antitrust department is expected to issue a decision by the end of March on a new market-wide support plan for the Greek electricity sector.

‘Capacity mechanisms’ are national state aid schemes that remunerate back-up power plants, ensuring the lights stay on when there is a peak in electricity demand.

But activists have expressed worries about the Greek scheme, saying it is designed to allow continued subsidies for existing coal plants as well as the construction of a new one.

Green MEP Florent Marcellesi submitted an urgent parliamentary question to the Commission last month, saying “lawful subsidies under agreed capacity markets must be clarified as a matter of urgency” and comply with the bloc’s recently-adopted electricity market rules.

The European Union ruled out any state aid for new coal-fired power plants as part of a revamp of the bloc’s electricity market approved in December.

But campaigners say the Greek plan aims at circumventing those rules by exploiting a special clause in the EU regulation allowing continued support for coal power plants which sign state aid contracts before the end of 2019.

External link

EurActiv, 14 Mar 2019: EU under pressure to pull the plug on Greek coal aid