ANNOUNCEMENT 26 Jul 2019
On 29 April 2016, France notified the European Commission of its intention to provide financial support, in the form of feed-in tariffs, to the Courseulles-sur-Mer wind farm project. On 26 July 2019, the European Commission approved the financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
SA.45274 France - Offshore wind park of Courseulles: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_45274
Letter to the Member State - Published on 12 August 2019, Aide d’État SA.45274 (2016/NN) — France Parc éolien en mer de Courseulles-sur-mer: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases1/201933/265141_2088479_221_2.pdf
Official Journal of the European Union, Authorisation for State aid pursuant to Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union Cases where the Commission raises no objections, issued on 23 August 2019: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2019.286.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:C:2019:286:TOC
EDF Group, press release of 10 May 2016, EDF Group signs a strategic partnership with Enbridge for the three first offshore wind farms projects off the French coast: https://www.edf.fr/en/edf/edf-group-signs-a-strategic-partnership-with-enbridge-for-the-three-first-offshore-wind-farms-projects-off-the-french-coast
On 26 July 2019, the European Commission approved the granting of feed-in tariffs for the future electricity produced by Eolien Maritime France's Courselles-sur-Mer wind farm project for a period of twenty years from the start of production. Production is expected to commence from 1 January 2022. The feed-in tariffs represent the difference between the market price and the guaranteed purchase price of electricity. This subsidy is estimated to have a total value of EUR 3.058 billion (approx. USD 3.5 billion) i.e. approximately EUR 152.5 million per year.
The beneficiary of the feed-in tariffs is the company Eolien Maritime France with 85% ownership and WPD offshore GmbH with 15% ownership. Eolien Maritime France was a subsidiary of the French company EDF Energies Nouvelles. However, following an agreement between EDF and Canadian Enbridge Inc. in 2016, the Canadian company purchased 50% ownership of the French subsidiary. Notably, the feed-in tariffs were granted following a tender held by the French authorities in 2012. Here Eolien Maritime France was awarded three offshore wind projects including the aforementioned project.
The Commission noted in its decision text that: "Electricity is highly traded, particularly between Member States, the notified measure may distort competition in the electricity market and affect trade between Member States. France is interconnected with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. The measure is therefore likely to distort the electricity exchanges between France and the neighbouring Member States." (own translation)
The Commission, however, decided, following an investigation of the state aid: "not to raise objections to the notified State aid on the ground that it is compatible with the internal market pursuant to Article 107 (3) (c) TFEU" (own translation)
Additionally, the European Commission also approved feed-in tariffs to be granted to five other offshore wind farm projects in France, see related state acts.
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.