Mr Bernd Rajal

Bernd Rajal

Updates

Energy & Natural Resources

Consultations on TAR NC and second amendment to Gas System Charges Ordinance
Austria | 22 June 2020

EU Regulation 2017/460 established a network code on harmonised transmission tariff structures (TAR NC). On 31 January 2019 E-Control – Austria's national regulatory authority – published its consultation document on the implementation of the TAR NC in Austria. This article discusses the subsequent developments.

New government programme sets course for expansion of renewable energies
Austria | 24 February 2020

The new government composed of the Austrian People's Party and the Green Party recently presented the government programme for 2020 to 2024, which contains comprehensive measures to promote the expansion of renewable energies. Accordingly, the Renewable Energies Expansion Act, which has been planned for a long time and was drawn up under the penultimate government, is to be enacted as quickly as possible.

Supreme Court rules on distribution network operators' obligation to connect
Austria | 23 December 2019

The Supreme Court recently considered whether distribution network operators must provide network users with a written cost estimate for a grid connection even if the general obligation to connect final customers to the grid is still in dispute and has yet to be decided by the competent authority. The case has clarified whether a network operator's obligation to provide a cost estimate presupposes that its connection obligation is undisputed or has already been legally established.

Consultation on implementation of network code on harmonised transmission tariffs
Austria | 29 April 2019

The national regulatory authority E-Control recently published its consultation document on the implementation of the network code on harmonised transmission tariff structures in Austria. The document is structured in line with the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators consultation template. However, it appears that E-Control paid little attention to maximum transparency and traceability when setting transmission tariffs.

Proposed amendments to gas ordinances and balancing system
Austria | 07 May 2018

To comply with the applicable EU regulations, E-Control recently published draft amendments to the Gas System Charges Ordinance 2018 and the Gas Market Model Ordinance. In response to international criticism, E-Control also proposed a redesign of the Austrian gas balancing system. In order to implement these amendments in the current Austrian gas market, a proposal to establish a virtual interconnection point at Baumgarten has also been drafted.

Update on Austrian-German single electricity market
Austria | 10 July 2017

Following an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators decision which foresees a split of the Austrian-German electricity market, the Austrian National Regulatory Authority, E-Control and the Austrian transmission system operators have announced that they plan to exhaust all legal possibilities in order to appeal the decision.

Government bill introduced to amend promotion scheme for green electricity
Austria | 20 February 2017

Although the long-awaited proposal to amend the Green Electricity Act was recently published, those who expected it to expand renewable energy in Austria will be disappointed and must patiently await the envisaged expansive amendment to the act. That said, the amendment package has brought some hope for new investments.

E-Control approves new cost and tariff methodology for gas TSOs
Austria | 06 February 2017

E-Control recently announced the next methodology for determining costs for gas transmission system operators (TSOs), which will apply until December 31 2020. The methodology is based on the incentives stipulated for the second regulation period for gas. It applies the calculation of TSOs' allowed costs and their volume production and comprises framework conditions for all entry and exit points, as well as interconnection points of the TSOs transmission lines.

Amendments to Gas Market Model Ordinance
Austria | 05 September 2016

The Gas Market Model Ordinance plays a major role in the Austrian gas market, as it regulates network access and the capacity management and balancing system. The ordinance is in the process of being amended in order to establish more nuanced requirements and options in relation to the calculation of residual loads, the merit order list, balancing energy requirements and cross-border interconnection points.

Energy regulator's independence denied because of minister's information rights
Austria | 16 May 2016

The Federal Administrative Court recently deemed the constitutional right granting the federal minister of science, research and economy certain information rights regarding Austria's National Regulatory Authority to be inconsistent with EU law. If the Supreme Administrative Court finds that Section 5(3) of the Energy Control Act does not comply with the independence requirements, pending network cost decisions which have been referred to the court will likely be revoked.

Trading with energy efficiency measures
Austria | 28 March 2016

Following the implementation of the Federal Energy Efficiency Act, energy suppliers must take energy efficiency measures amounting to at least 0.6% of their total energy supply to domestic end customers in the previous year. If a supplier cannot reach the savings target, it may buy its way out by approaching its own customers, approaching outside end customers, shopping for efficiency measure trading platforms or purchasing measures from measure traders.

New specifications on energy supplier's obligation to take energy efficiency measures
Austria | 25 January 2016

The minister for science, research and economy recently released an ordinance enacting specifications for the accountability of energy efficiency measures. The ordinance derogated an earlier method document which provided for an interim method to evaluate energy efficiency measures but left a series of legal uncertainties. The ordinance will help energy suppliers to reach their saving targets in the most economically favourable way.

ECJ rules on exploratory drilling for natural gas and mineral oil
Austria | 07 April 2015

In a recent case, the Ministry of Economy authorised a crude oil exploration company to undertake exploratory drilling for natural gas and mineral oil within an Austrian municipality. The municipality challenged the authorisation on the grounds that the exploratory drilling was subject to an environmental impact assessment. The Supreme Administrative Court referred the matter to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.

Solution to complying with EU efficiency targets
Austria | 19 January 2015

Under the Energy Efficiency Law, large companies are now required either to perform external audits at regular intervals or install an energy and environmental management system. Energy suppliers must implement yearly energy efficiency measures in their operations, for their final customers or for other energy consumers. In practice, many questions will arise in relation to the new obligations.

Environment & Climate Change

Amendment to waste and clean-up regulations – important implications for banks
Austria | 08 February 2016

Under a recent bill to amend the Waste Management Act 2002, the federal government will be granted a statutory preferred pledge for all costs incurred when securing and remediating contaminated properties. This pledge will take priority over all other liens and property-related charges.

Amendments to Chemicals Act and Biocidal Products Act
Austria | 13 April 2015

The agriculture, forestry, environment and water economics minister recently presented a draft law to amend the Chemicals Act and the Biocidal Products Act. The proposed amendments complete the standardisation of the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. The amendments simplify the term 'toxin' and shift the current toxin purchase permit system to a simplified system of toxin purchase certificates.

ECJ rules on environmental impact assessment for exploratory drilling
Austria | 07 April 2015

In a recent case, the Ministry of Economy authorised a crude oil exploration company to undertake exploratory drilling for natural gas and mineral oil within an Austrian municipality. The municipality challenged the authorisation on the grounds that the exploratory drilling was subject to an environmental impact assessment. The Supreme Administrative Court referred the matter to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.