German green energy rules win EU clearance

Commission declares feed-in laws do not involve state aid but ducks competition issues

The European Commission today finally ended long-running investigations into the legality of controversial German green energy support laws, ruling that they do not constitute state aid. The EU executive also dismissed continuing criticism of the rules' competitiveness impacts, declaring these outside its competence.

Germany's current green energy "feed-in" rules took effect for renewables in April 2000, and for combined heat and power (CHP) in May 2000. Each obliges utilities to connect such installations to the grid and to purchase their power at a guaranteed price above market levels.

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