Case study Firan

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20 September 2021

Case study Firan

A concrete roadmap for financing municipal heat networks

More and more municipalities are working on making buildings, neighbourhoods, and other areas natural gas-free. Firan supports these municipalities in exploring what opportunities might exist for a heat network. There are highly complex issues involved, for example managing the necessary cooperation, financing, and all the related laws and regulations. A recurring theme is the question of whether state aid is involved if a municipality makes a financial contribution to the development, implementation, and operation of a heat network. Together with ffiqs, Firan wrote an informative white paper with a practical step-by-step plan for municipalities and decentralised authorities to ensure that they could provide assistance without breaching state aid rules.

The challenge

As experts in infrastructure for sustainable energy, Firan works closely with local governments and other partners in the heat-chain on the development, implementation, financing and the operation of heat networks and other sustainable concepts. In doing so, it considers all the technical, legal, organisational, and financial aspects of heat networks, including issues concerning state aid. Firan was looking for a way to combine their expertise and experience for the benefit of local governments who want to get started with sustainable heat networks. With the aim of driving the energy transition forward.

The solution: a roadmap showing routes to allowed state aid

ffiqs supported Firan by writing a white paper. This white paper contains an overview of the issues related to current laws and regulations. In two steps, municipalities (and other local authorities such as provinces) are given insights and tools to assess whether a specific situation would allow for state aid. A proper awareness of the relevant rules at an early stage in the development process for a new heat network, reduces the legal and financial risks. This increases the chances of success for innovative sustainable heat projects.

The result: tips for municipal practice 

During the heat weeks of the National Heat Congress 2020, Firan and ffiqs explained the issue of state aid, the four possible roles of a municipality in the local heat chain, and practical steps for contributing to heat networks in accordance with the rules. In addition, we gave concrete tips for municipal practice. Firan has compiled all these tips, with the help of ffiqs, into an informative white paper. It contains a practical step-by-step plan with an overview of the relevant rules, points for attention and exemptions for municipalities and local authorities.

Download whitepaper

When are the financial instruments used by local governments, such as loans, guarantees and subsidies/grants, considered to be (un)authorised state aid? What criteria and exemptions are there for lawful state aid for the development of heat networks? What conditions and considerations apply? In this white paper you will find a practical step-by-step plan with possible routes for state aid.

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