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PR(03)35: The EFTA Surveillance Authority opens formal investigation regarding a proposed aid scheme to utilise energy from final waste treatment plants in Norway


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today decided to open a formal investigation procedure with regard to a proposed aid scheme to utilise energy from final waste treatment plants in Norway. On the basis of the information available to it, the Authority has doubts about the compatibility of the notified measure with the State aid provisions of the EEA Agreement, in particular the Authority’s State Aid Guidelines for environmental protection. 

In January 2003, the Norwegian Government notified the EFTA Surveillance Authority of its intention to stimulate increased energy production from waste with a new aid scheme. The aid scheme intends to grant state support to waste incineration plants and landfills for the utilization of energy produced in the waste treatment process. At the moment, operators handling waste are subject to a tax that is graduated according to the amount of energy generated and used in the waste treatment. In the future, the tax differentiation is foreseen to be abolished and a scheme of direct grants is planned to be introduced. The scheme foresees that grants will depend on the actual amount of energy produced and delivered for consumption.

The Authority has assessed the notified grant scheme under various options for allowing operating aid for renewable energy sources as provided for in the State Aid Guidelines for environmental protection. With the information at hand it could not conclude that the scheme complies with any of these provisions. It has therefore decided to open a formal investigation. This decision is without prejudice to the final decision in the case.

The Authority’s decision to initiate a formal investigation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the EEA Supplement thereto and interested parties will be invited to submit their comments within one month of the date of publication.

For further information, please contact Mr. Amund Utne, Director, tel.  (32)(0)2 286 18 50 or Ms. Annette Kliemann, Officer, tel. (32)(0)2 286 18 52.

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