Court upholds right for tenders to award extra value to green power

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In a case that impacts on the rights of public authorities to choose a green energy supply, the European Court of Justice has ruled that a public authority can place a value on renewable energy when awarding contracts. The case centred on a public power supply contract issued by the Austrian Republic. The claimants, a consortium of two utilities, EVN AG and Weinstrom, were challenging the criteria adopted in judging the tenders. But the European Court in Luxembourg upheld the authority's right to impose its own criteria, which gave a separate weighting for the greenness of the supply. The ruling follows the precedent of an earlier case that established the principle that criteria other than economics can be considered in awarding public contracts. Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says: "The real breakthrough was with the Helsinki Bus Case. This links the principles in that case specifically to renewable energy." Kjaer points out that, more significantly, the ruling is referred to in new draft European rules for public procurement that will be voted on in the new year. "In itself, it is not a major case, but it is one of those small steps in the right direction."

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