17 Mar 2023

Commission endorses framework for easier access to state aid

On 9 March, the Commission endorsed an amended General Block Exemption Regulation, which defines the scope for subsidies exempted from prior notification to Commission services.

This regulation is essential for the sector, as it covers funding for DHC projects and brings new vital changes. Compared to the previous text (from 2014), the notification threshold is increased from Euro 20 million to 50 million per undertaking. It means, in practical terms, that a more extensive scope of projects will be entitled to fast-track access to subsidies. The following text adds thermal storage (new) to the scope and heat pumps (new), along with generation and infrastructure. The new text allows Member States to support inefficient DH systems that would become efficient as a result of the aid. This is a key change for countries where District Heating systems are in a state of transition. The text exempts aid for generation capacity based on natural gas under the condition that compliance for the aided installations is ensured with 2030 and 2050 objectives (new). In calculating the aid intensity, a new alternative method applicable to generation should ensure that the aid fits the various market situations.

The text will be translated into all official langintoges in the coming weeks and formally adopted. It will enter into force a day after its publication in the official journal and be applicable until the end of 2026.

This improved framework should establish new opportunities for DHC projects. The publication of the GBER marks the end of the State aid review that started in 2019.

For more detailed information on this file, reach out to [email protected], Director of Market Intelligence.