The upcoming revision of the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy 2014-2020 (EEAG) and the related articles of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) should be aligned with the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package (CEP), which aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and enhance citizen participation and empowerment in the energy transition. The national aid measures that will be developed according to the new EEAG and GBER regime should promote the fight against climate change, support environmental protection and ensure security of energy supply. In December 2020 the Council decided to increase the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 to a reduction of at least 55% compared to 1990. In order for that target to be achieved, everyone should contribute towards the realisation of the energy transition to a cleaner energy future free from fossil fuels.

Taking into consideration that the CEP enhances the role of citizens as active consumers and members of an energy community in the energy transition, they should also be able to participate in the single European energy market and compete on an equal basis with the other market players. However, as mentioned in the consultation questionnaire, there are indications that the scope of the state aid guidelines might have been too restricted and thus not sufficiently future-proof, to cater for recent and expected technological and market developments and novel aid designs. There are also indications that the compatibility rules on environmental protection are not entirely suited to face the climate neutrality challenge. Consequently, the EEAG and GBER should be revised in a way that they will incorporate the vital objective of citizen participation highlighted in the CEP. The following analysis will mainly focus on energy communities