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EU renewables law breaks free trade rules: EU court adviser


The provisions in the EU renewable energy directive allowing national governments to restrict their national support schemes to domestic producers break EU rules on free movement of goods, an advocate-general of the EU Court of Justice said in a formal opinion Tuesday.

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The opinion is on a case brought by Finnish wind energy producer Alands Vindkraft against the Swedish government for denying it access to Sweden's green certificate scheme for promoting renewable electricity on the grounds that it is not based in Sweden.

The case is significant as its outcome could impact all EU national renewable energy support schemes that have territorial restrictions.

The specific text in the EU's 2009 renewables directive allowing the restriction, in article 3 paragraph 3, is invalid because it is incompatible with the free movement of goods principle enshrined in article 34 of the EU's Lisbon treaty, advocate-general Yves Bot said.

Bot recommended the court rule that this text is invalid, but allow two years for national governments to adapt before applying it.

The court follows advocate-generals' advice "in the majority of cases," court spokesman Christopher Fretwell said Tuesday.

Bot gave a similar opinion in May on a similar challenge brought by Essent Belgium on national restrictions in an earlier EU renewable electricity directive, Fretwell said.

It usually takes three to six months from an opinion to a formal ruling, but there are no fixed deadlines, he said. There has been no ruling yet on the Essent case, he added.

--Siobhan Hall,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,