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Parliamentary questions
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17 November 2011
Question for written answer E-010355/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Judith A. Merkies (S&D)

 Subject: Microgeneration
 Answer in writing 

Microgeneration has been receiving increasing attention in the EU. In 2009, at the launch of Micropower Europe, EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger highlighted the topic of microgeneration by underlining the importance of ‘buildings as power plants’. In 2010, the European Parliament called on the Commission to propose incentives and programmes for microgeneration. Nevertheless, although studies have shown the capacity as well the efficiency of microgeneration, household-scale energy generation has not been taken up in the proposal for the directive on energy efficiency, and no European strategy for microgeneration has been foreseen.

In the Netherlands an important fiscal barrier preventing the widespread use of microgeneration is the ‘offsetting problem’ (salderingsproblematiek). In general, households can freely use the energy generated by private microgenerators installed on their own premises, e.g. a solar panel on the roof of the house or a windmill in the garden, without having to pay any tax on the supply of energy. However, if a community or a group of households uses a small-scale energy generator together, e.g. a solar panel on the roof of an apartment building or a windmill just outside the premises, the individual households are not seen as self-supplying and each of them is taxed on the energy supplied. Overcapacity at one time (e.g. summer) may not be offset in an ‘energy tax neutral’ way against undercapacity at another time (e.g. winter). This taxation is an impediment to the widespread uptake of microgeneration and deters many households or communities from investing in small-scale energy generators.

1. Are the current Dutch taxation on the energy supply from a small-scale energy generator shared between households, and the impossibility of offsetting undercapacity against overcapacity in a tax neutral way, in conformity with European legislation?

2. Will the Commission prevent such taxation schemes in future legislation and does the Commission agree that this taxation is an impediment to the widespread uptake of microgeneration?

3. When will the Commission set up a coherent strategy for microgeneration in order to improve energy efficiency and the target for renewables in the EU?

4. Does the Commission have information on the different types of fiscal and legal barriers to microgeneration in the Member States?

 OJ C 168 E, 14/06/2012
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