ANNOUNCEMENT 16 Dec 2015
On 14 November 2016, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against a direct grant of 100 million EUR by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to connect the Niederrhein-Ruhr heat pipes for the years 2016 - 2020.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.43913)
European Commission letter to Germany, 5.12.2016
The recipient of this state aid is Fernwärmeschiene Rhein-Ruhr GmbH.
According to Germany, "The notified measure concerns a support for the construction of the district heating network in the Rhein-Ruhr area which will connect the district heating networks of Lower Rhine (Niederrhein) and Ruhr ("the project"). [...] The total investment costs of the project (incl. capitalized interest) amount to EUR 217,6 mil. in discounted value, of which EUR 152,2 mil. in discounted value are costs eligible for public funding. [...] The aid for the project will be funded from the budget of the State of NRW on the basis of Directive progres.nrw in the amount of up to EUR 100 mil. The aid takes the form of a one-time non-repayable direct grant for the construction phase." (para. 6, 41 and 42 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 05.12.2016)
Based on the findings of the European Commission, "[...] the individual aid at issue will not cause any material effects on competition and trade, as district heating will remain one of the customers’ options to meet their individual heating demands. [...] Therefore, the Commission concludes that the possible distortion of competition and the effect on trade resulting from the aid measure are limited and are outweighed by the positive effects" (para. 113 and 119 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 05.12.2016)
In the GTA database the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.