Court clarifies renewable energy purchase rules

Scope for European public authorities to specify supply of renewably produced electricity dissected

The European court of justice has handed down a potentially significant judgement regarding how far public authorities can favour renewable energy when awarding electricity supply contracts. The ruling follows hard on the heels of a political agreement on revised EU public procurement rules that will for the first time explicitly allow authorities to set environmental or social conditions (EED 04/12/03).

Issued on 4 December, the court's ruling is based on existing EU procurement rules and concerns a dispute between an Austrian electricity supplier and the national authorities. The firm, Wienstrom, was an unsuccessful tenderer for a supply contract. Austria's federal procurement office must now rule on the specific dispute, but the European court's judgement sets a legal benchmark on several issues.

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