European Commission decision on a German operating aid scheme to further develop offshore wind energy generation in Germany (modified ‘WindSeeG’) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 21 May 2021.It has been approved by the EC, under EU State aid rules, on 29 March 2021. The scheme, that will replace support for offshore wind under an existing scheme that the Commission approved as part of a 2017 State aid decision in case SA.45461, will increase the target for installed offshore wind capacity from 15 Gigawatt (GW) to 20 GW by 2030 and set a target of 40 GW of installed offshore capacity by 2040. Like the existing scheme, the new scheme is based on the centralised model, where the State pre-selects and tenders specific sites for offshore wind development. The aid will be granted in the form of a premium on top of the electricity market price, that will be set on the basis of the lowest bid in open and transparent competitive tenders, and will be paid for a period of 20 years. The scheme is approved until 2026.
The Commission assessed the scheme under the EU State aid rules, in particular the rules on aid to energy from renewable resources under the 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. The Commission found that the aid is proportionate and limited to the minimum necessary, as the level of aid will be set through competitive tenders. Furthermore, the Commission found that the positive effects of the measure in terms of environmental benefits outweigh any possible negative effects of the measure in terms of distortions to competition. Germany also committed to carry out an ex-post evaluation of the scheme.
The Commission concluded that the measure will further encourage the development of offshore wind energy and help Germany meet its medium- and long-term environmental goals, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme under EU State aid rules.
More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.57610: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases1/202117/287664_2269643_173_2.pdf