French feed-in tariff annulled

FRANCE: France has annulled the decree that set wind power feed-in tariffs, following the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) ruling that it amounts to illegal state aid.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice foreced the government to annul the law
A ruling by the European Court of Justice foreced the government to annul the law

A new law has been prepared and is expected to come into force over the next few days after it was approved by the European Commission.

The previous French decree laid out an obligation for energy suppliers to purchase electricity with a feed-in-tariff above the market rate. Last December, the ECJ ruled in favour of the argument presented by 12 anti-wind groups that this amounted to state aid.

Despite the French government's requests to defer the decision, the court ruled that the government must annul the 2008 ministerial decree that introduced the tariffs within three months, a deadline that has been missed.

The new system will remain essentially the same for wind energy producers, with only technical details changed in order to circumvent the EU's state aid rules. The wind industry will be pleased that the uncertainty surrounding the country's wind subsidy regime, which has had a chilling effect on the market, has now been resolved.

The crisis stemmed from an appeal to the European Council by Vent de Colère, an association opposed to industrial-scale wind power, on the grounds that the government had failed to notify the European Commission of the tariff as required for state aid under European law.

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