Chapter 8 EU State Aid Law, wto Subsidies Disciplines and Renewable Energy Support Schemes

Disconnected Paradigms in Decarbonizing the Grid?

In: A Multifaceted Approach to Trade Liberalisation and Investment Protection in the Energy Sector
Anna-Alexandra Marhold
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Liberalization of the European internal market for energy by means of unbundling and third party access alone is not enough to make renewable energy on a par with fossil fuels. To increase the production of renewable energy in its Member States, the EU has in place a set of legal instruments to promote the scale up of renewable energy production through i.e. setting binding targets for renewables and providing a legal framework for support schemes. However, while arguably consistent with EU disciplines pertaining to State aid, EU support schemes can easily fall foul of wto subsidy disciplines. This chapter argues that EU and wto law are disconnected paradigms in this respect: EU legislation by its design attempts to legitimize support schemes for renewable energy, not necessarily taking into account their consistency with the wto subsidy disciplines. wto law, on the other hand, currently arguably provides too little legal space for subsidies that further legitimate policy goals, such as advancing environmental protection and climate change mitigation.

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