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European Commission approves 2023 Renewable Energy Sources Act and 2023 Offshore Wind Energy Act under State aid rules
The most comprehensive acceleration of the expansion of renewable energy since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (RES Act) can thus become effective right from the turn of the year
Yesterday, the European Commission approved the amendments to the Renewable Energy Sources Act and to the Offshore Wind Energy Act under State aid rules. All the measures to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy contained in the Acts will thus be applicable from 1 January 2023 as planned.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said: "Following today’s Commission decision, the important new rules on the expansion of renewable energy can enter into force as planned at the beginning of the new year. This is good news and an important boost to renewable energy. In summer 2022, we adopted the new 2023 Renewable Energy Sources Act and the rules on offshore wind – the most comprehensive set of acceleration measures for decades. It is therefore all the more important that we can now start funding after the decision on State aid rules has been taken. We have set ourselves ambitious targets and we have achieved a lot this year to speed up the expansion of renewable energy. In this spirit, we need to vigorously continue our efforts to accelerate the expansion, as renewable energy has long become a key factor for businesses."
Together, the 2023 Renewable Energy Sources Act and the 2023 Offshore Wind Energy Act point the way towards a greenhouse gas neutral electricity supply. For the first time, the expansion of renewable energy is clearly based on the 1.5 degree target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. To this end, the target for renewables has been increased to a share of at least 80% in gross electricity consumption by 2030. The expansion paths and volumes up for auction especially in the fields of onshore and offshore wind and solar energy have also been massively increased. The first auction for onshore wind energy under the 2023 Renewable Energy Sources Act will be held on 1 February 2023. And the first auctions under the Offshore Wind Energy Act will also be announced in February.
In addition, the 2023 Renewable Energy Sources Act contains numerous important rules to improve the environment for the broad range of measures on the expansion of renewable energy, e.g. for citizens’ energy, the participation of municipalities in the energy transition, grid connections for solar installations, more sites for ground-mounted installations and the inclusion of solar installations like agrivoltaics and floating PV in regular funding.
The 2023 Offshore Wind Energy Act provides for a comprehensive acceleration of planning and authorisation procedures, faster awarding of contracts for grid connections, a substantially larger quantity of sites to be auctioned, and the introduction of new auction procedures.
At the end of July 2022, the principle that the expansion of renewable energy is in the overriding public interest was introduced and the funding rates for rooftop PV installations were considerably increased. At the latest Energy Council on 19 December 2022, the EU Member States also decided that the expansion of renewable energy is in the overriding public interest throughout Europe and that the expansion has priority in terms of authorisations and planning.
Funding under the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Offshore Wind Energy Act is subject to compulsory control under State aid rules by the European Commission in accordance with the European Treaties. This is intended to ensure that State aid granted to companies does not unduly distort competition in the European single market. The examination of the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Offshore Wind Energy Act by the European Commission was the first examination on the basis of the new 2022 Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy.