Brussels, 4 February 2014
State aid: Commission authorises investment aid for ''energy from waste'' gasification plant in Lahti, Finland
The European Commission has concluded that Finnish plans to grant Lahti Energia € 14. 725 million of investment aid for a gasification plant are in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission found in particular that the aid will further EU energy and environmental goals without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The gasification of waste on this scale has not been used anywhere in the world prior to this project. Its commercialisation would provide a more efficient option for waste-to-energy plants in the EU."
In 2012 Finland notified plans to support the construction of a gasification plant in Lahti. The facility will be built by the Finnish company Lahti Energia. It will use the so-called circulated fluidized bed (CFB) gasification technology to recover energy from waste materials. More concretely, it would be fuelled with approximately 250.000 tonnes per year of solid recovered fuel.
The Commission assessed the measure under the EU environmental aid guidelines (see MEMO/08/31) and found that gasification allows for a cleaner and more efficient recovery of energy from waste than traditional techniques. In particular, it allows for a more efficient generation of energy and a better power-to-heat ratio. The most important impact of the investment is that the previously mostly fossil energy based heating will be much more environmental friendly, especially in terms of CO2-emissions which are expected to decrease by 279.000 tons per year. The plant also contributes to increasing security of energy supply and diversifying energy supply sources. In addition, the project will reduce the need to use landfill sites for future waste, generate knowledge for research and improve sustainable waste management.
The Commission therefore concluded that the positive effects of the aid clearly offset any potential distortions of competition brought about by the state support.
The primary objective of state aid control in the field of environmental protection is to ensure that state support measures result in a higher level of environmental protection than absent the aid, while at the same time ensuring that the positive effects of the aid outweigh its negative effects in terms of distorting competition.
The EU environmental aid guidelines are currently being reviewed as part of the State Aid Modernisation initiative (see IP/12/458). The Commission launched a public consultation of draft revised environmental and energy guidelines in December 2013 (see IP/13/1282).
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.35046 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.