BBH regards the ECJ judgment on the EEG 2012 to be a strong signal for the StromNEV

The ECJ held that the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) 2012 did not involve State aid. Hence, the recovery of grid charges which the European Commission had stipulated with regard to exemptions companies had obtained in 2012/2013 might also be obsolete. On behalf of 35 electricity-intensive companies, Becker Büttner Held (BBH) has thus lodged an action for annulment with the EGC against the European Commission on 09/04/2019.

The highest court of the European Union ruled that the funding of renewable energy by way of the EEG surcharge does not constitute State aid as no State resources are involved. The ECJ thus followed the arguments of the Federal Republic of Germany, i.e. the appellant. According to BBH lawyers Dr. Thies Christian Hartmann and Nadine Voß, this view may also be applicable to the issue of grid charges. “If no State resources are involved, there is no State aid. If the ECJ judgment is taken to its logical conclusion, the same has to apply to the exemption from grid charges,” says BBH partner Dr. Hartmann.

Last year, the companies concerned faced claims for the recovery of grid charges amounting to a high six- to seven-digit figure. According to the European Commission, State resources were involved in the exemption of companies from grid charges in 2012 and 2013, which would mean that part of the exemptions constituted unlawful State aid.

Becker Büttner Held is a leading provider of advisory services for energy and infrastructure companies and their customers. Energy and supply companies, particularly public utilities, municipalities and local authorities, industrial companies and international groups are among its core clients. BBH advises these and many other companies and organisations in all legal and tax matters and also assists them with business and strategic advice.


Prof. Dr. Ines Zenke
Lawyer, Partner
Tel +49 (0)30 611 28 40-179

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