European Union
Air pollution, Cooperation, Taxation, Standing, Jurisdiction, Permits

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) answers the question whether the Directive 2009/28/EC allowing territorial restrictions of green certificate schemes contradicts the free movement of goods of Article 34 TFEU.
The Finnish company Åland Vindkraft sought to receive approval for a green certificate for their wind farm located in Finland. Despite being on Finnish territory the wind farm is mainly connected to the Swedish grid. However, the Swedish law of 2011 on electricity certificates limits the approval for the green certificate to renewable electricity coming from Sweden and only allows approval for electricity coming from territory outside of Sweden where there is a certain agreement in place. Therefore, as a wind farm located outside of Swedish territory, the application of Åland Vindkraft was refused. As a reaction, the company went in front of the Swedish Administrative Court in Linköping in order to repeal their failed application arguing that the territorial restriction of the Swedish green certificate is a measure having equivalent effect and thus contradicts EU law on the grounds of Article 34 TFEU. The case was passed on to the ECJ and they decided that the Swedish Law allowing territorial limitations is in line with the Directive 2009/28/EC and that this Directive does not contradict the free movement of goods of Article 34 TFEU. This is based on the reasoning that the discrimination at hand is seen as justifiable, because giving Member States competence over their national support schemes is necessary and suitable to attain the aim of environmental protection as it is contributing to an effective approach to decrease emission outputs and thus for lowering the risks that go along with climate change.