Brussels, 20 November 2009
Green electricity: Commission refers Italy to the Court of Justice
The European Commission has today launched court proceedings against Italy for its failure to recognise certain guarantees of origin from other EU Member States specified under the EU Directive on e lectricity production from renewable energy sources 1 . Member States are required by this Directive to establish a system of guarantees of origin and to recognise those of other Member States.
Italy has a "green certificate" regime whereby electricity suppliers are obliged to hold "green certificates" (proof of the renewable provenance) for a certain share of their electricity. Suppliers importing electricity may be exempted from this obligation if they instead hold proof of the renewable provenance of electricity from other Member States.
Several companies have complained that Italy refused to recognise guarantees of origin from France, Greece and Slovenia for renewable electricity produced in 2005. Following investigation, the Commission has found that the refusal to recognise these guarantees of origin for electricity produced in 2005 is unjustified. Therefore, Italy's action constitutes a breach of Article 5(4) of the Directive.
According to Italy, those Member States failed to completely implement the details of their guarantee of origin regime and consequently, their guarantees of origin could not be treated as reliable. As a result, Italian importers of electricity could not use the guarantees of origin they had bought in 2005 and that they needed to buy Italian green certificates instead.
The Commission has found that the Italian authorities have failed to demonstrate that the other Member States' guarantees of origin in 2005 were necessarily less reliable. As they were essentially equivalent to the earlier certification regimes which had been accepted by the Italian authorities up to 2005, the refusal to recognise the guarantees of origin does not appear to be justified.
Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market, OJ L 283/33, 27.10.2001