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European Commission approves programs for renewables in Lithuania, Portugal

The European Commission approved programs for renewable energy developments in Lithuania and Portugal under its EU state-aid rules.

In Lithuania, the commission gave its approval to a measure to support the producers of electricity from renewable energy sources. The program was set up in 2012 and will run until 2029 with an overall budget of about €1.2 billion.

On Jan. 8, the commission approved aid granted under the program from 2012 to 2015, with the beneficiaries granted support in the form of a feed-in premium for 12 years. Small-scale power plants below 30 kW receive support in the form of a fixed feed-in tariff for 12 years.

The commission also approved a program that would grant reductions on a levy paid by end-use consumers to energy-intensive industrial users. Beneficiaries will get compensation for 85% of the levy paid in the previous year if they are shown to have an electro-intensity of at least 20%.

In Portugal, the commission approved a program to support biomass energy installations close to forest areas at risk of fires. The new installations will produce electricity and combined heat and power.

The aid will be provided in the form of a feed-in premium to selected installations and an environmental tariff premium linked to the use of biomass from Portuguese forests in "critical areas."

The program will run for 15 years, will have a budget of about €320 million and will be funded through an increase in energy tariffs.

The state-aid rules include guidelines published in 2008 and 2014 on environmental protection and energy issues. They allow EU member states to provide various levels of support for the development of renewable energy resources for electricity production without distorting competitive markets. The EU has a target calling for 27% of electricity produced in member states to come from renewable energy resources by 2030.