European Union

Essent Belgium NV v. Vlaamse Reguleringsinstantie voor de Elektriciteits- en Gasmarkt (European Court of Justice, Fourth Chamber, 2014)

Jurisdiction: European Union


Side A: Essent Belgium NV (Corporation)


Side B: Flemish Regulatory Authority for the Electricity and Gas (Government)


Core objectives: Electricity supplier challenged Belgium's regional support scheme for the production of renewable energy on the basis that quotas could not be met with electricity produced outside the region.


Summary
A Belgian electricity supplier (Essent) challenged the decision of the defendant regulatory authority (VREG) to impose fines on Essent for failing to meet its quota obligation for the use of renewable energy. Pursuant to Belgium's national support scheme, VREG refused to accept Essent's submission of "guarantees of origin" attesting to the production of green electricity outside of the Flemish region. Essent argued, inter alia, that VREG's decision was inconsistent with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The court held that European Union law does not require a national support scheme promoting the use of renewable energy to extend to green electricity produced in other European Union nations. In reaching its decision, the court reasoned that the law at issue was justified on public interest grounds, since it contributed to the European Union's pledge to combat climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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