* Almunia signals open questions have been answered
* Deal on industry to repay some discounts on green support
* Imported power issue clarified via auctions from 2017
* Discounts allowed for industry's co-generation plants
(Dual dateline, adds details on repayments by German industry,
imports, on-site production)
By Foo Yun Chee and Vera Eckert
BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT, July 9 European Union
authorities have reached a deal with Germany on how to make its
proposed green energy law compatible with EU state aid rules,
the bloc's antitrust chief said on Wednesday.
The European Commission has been examining Germany's
revamped renewables legislation (EEG), which protects heavy
industry from the cost of funding green energy, on concerns that
this may give some companies an unfair advantage.
Germany's deputy economy minister confirmed that under the
agreement with Brussels, some 350 German companies will have to
pay back a total of 30 million euros ($41 million) to cover
discounts on green support payments previously granted to German
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said
German authorities had now allayed concerns about an unfair
advantage following talks.
"We have reached a definitive final agreement on this,"
Almunia told journalists at a press conference, when asked about
talks concerning Germany's green energy law.
"We have started the procedure to respond with a positive
decision to the notification of the new EEG sent out by the
German government," he said.
The Commission can ask EU governments to recover funds
granted to companies if these are found to breach EU rules.
The EU also accepted a German pledge that it will bring
foreign renewable power producers into planned auctions for
green energy from 2017. This is so that certain imported volumes
can benefit from prices paid in the German market, but under
The Commission had argued that green energy support in
Germany currently only benefits domestic producers and that it
is funded by levying charges on customers' final bill, which
would represent unfair taxation.
Germany, a net power exporter, held out against widening
support payments for domestic green power producers to include
foreign green power producers because that could have resulted
in opening the floodgates to more imports and even higher energy
prices for its citizens, if they have to cover subsidies to a
greater number of producers.
The EU also agreed with Germany's plan to continue allowing
industrial companies, if they produce their own power, discounts
of up to 40 percent on renewable surcharges up to the end of
The Commission had argued this could give unfair advantage
to German industry. But Germany said it needed to encourage
producers operating combined heat and power plants in
particular, because that process limits damage to the
($1 = 0.7331 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Madeline Chambers in Berlin and
Vera Eckert in Frankfurt,; Editing by John O'Donnell, Mark
Potter and Susan Fenton)