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On 12 November 2008, Italy notified the Commission of an aid scheme aimed at financing projects related to the promotion of renewable energy, energy saving, cogeneration and district heating in the region of Tuscany.
The aim of the present scheme, which is introduced by the "Decreto Dirigenziale n° 2450/2008, Decreto Dirigenziale n° 2773/2008 e Decreto Dirigenziale n° 4852/2008 " is to finance projects aimed at: i) fostering the adoption of renewable energies; ii) energy saving; iii) cogeneration and iv) district heating with low energy consumption. Aid for renewable energy sources includes aid for the promotion of solar, hydropower and wind-powered installations, biomass, biotermic fluids, and biogases,
This measure provides exclusively for investment aid, which will be awarded through direct grants. The overall budget is Euro 53 million. The yearly budget is Euro 10.60 million.
Under the present scheme the Italian authorities intend to finance the substitution of existing equipment and installations and the adoption of the best technology available to realise energy saving. The measure will apply to a variety of industrial sectors. More particularly, the Italian authorities will finance interventions such as, for instance, investments for the recovery of heat from production processes; streamlining of the production processes; recovery and recycle of the water used in the production processes; improvement of building insulation; use of low-consumption light sources etc.
The Commission took the view that all envisaged measures constitute State aid in the meaning of Article 87(1) and gave the following assessment:
"The beneficiaries of the present aid scheme will receive a contribution to partially compensate the extra costs incurred to carry out the abovementioned type of projects in their business organisation. The abovementioned measures therefore confer an advantage on them. The beneficiaries constitute a selective group of undertakings in the sense of ArticleEC as the measure solely favors certain undertakings. At least some of the measure's beneficiaries are engaged in sectors where trade between Member States takes place and, therefore, the measure is likely to affect trade and distort competition." (par. 13-15 from the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 01.04.2009 C(2009)2651)
However, the Commission assessed the compliance of the scheme contained in the present notification with Article 87(3) (c) EC, in particular on the basis of the Environmental Aid Guidelines (EAG), which apply as of 2 April 2008 and concluded not to raise objections to the notified scheme N 573/2008 " Aid scheme for the promotion of renewables, energy saving, cogeneration and district heating (Toscana)" as it complies with the environmental aid guidelines (OJ C 82 of 1.4.2008, p. 1) and is therefore considered compatible with the common market in application of Article 87(3) (c) EC.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
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