The European Commission said on May 15 that the EC concluded that the extension of hydropower concessions granted by Portugal to the national incumbent Electricidade de Portugal SA (EDP) does not involve state aid.
The use of public water resources for electricity production in Portugal is subject to a concession agreement. The government picks a concessionaire following specific procedures determined by law.
In 2007, Portugal extended several hydropower concessions beyond the termination date that had originally been granted (2020 in average). These extensions were granted to EDP against the payment of €704 million. This measure was never notified to the Commission for state aid approval and has the effect of maintaining 27 hydro power plants under the control of EDP, together accounting for 27% of Portugal’s generation capacity.
Following the receipt of complaints, in September 2013, the Commission opened a formal investigation into the measure. The main concerns related to the price paid by EDP for the extension of the concessions and to the market impact of the extension given EDP’s strong position on the Portuguese market.
During the formal investigation, the Commission verified that the compensation paid by EDP for the extension of the hydropower concessions was in line with market conditions. On this basis, the Commission has now concluded that the compensation paid by EDP for the extension of the concessions does not involve state aid.