State aid: Commission approves €233 million Austrian scheme to compensate energy-intensive companies for indirect emission costs

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €233 million Austrian scheme to partially compensate energy-intensive companies for higher electricity prices resulting from the impact of carbon prices on electricity costs (so-called ‘indirect emission costs’), incurred in 2022, under the EU Emission Trading Scheme (‘ETS’).

The measure will benefit companies active in Austria in sectors at risk of carbon leakage listed in Annex I to the ETS State aid Guidelines, with the exception of the sector of  manufacturing of refined petroleum products. These sectors face significant electricity costs and are particularly exposed to international competition. The compensation will be granted to eligible companies through a partial refund of the indirect emission costs incurred in 2022, with the payment to be made in 2023.

The maximum aid amount per beneficiary will be equal to 75% of the indirect emission costs incurred. To encourage energy savings, the aid amount is calculated based on electricity consumption efficiency benchmarks.In order to qualify for compensation, eligible beneficiaries have to implement certain energy audit recommendations.

The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, and in particular the ETS State aid Guidelines. The Commission found that the scheme is necessary and appropriate to support energy-intensive companies to cope with the higher electricity prices and to avoid that companies relocate to countries outside the EU with less ambitious climate policies, resulting in an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the Commission found that the scheme complies with the requirements set out in the ETS State aid Guidelines. Finally, the Commission concluded that the aid granted is limited to the minimum necessary. On this basis, the Commission approved the Austrian scheme under EU State aid rules.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the number SA.107885 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.