In accordance with the European State Aid rules, on 29 October 2021 the Commission approved the €173 million supplied by the Polish government to invest into electric charging and hydrogen-refuelling infrastructure for zero and low emission vehicles in order to reduce CO2 and other pollutant emissions thereby achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal.
Covering the period from 2021 to 2025 and taking the form of direct grants capped at 50% of the eligible investment costs, the scheme aims at creating a comprehensive network of charging infrastructure along both local and trans-European (TEN-T) roads. More particularly, the scheme is open to all economic operators meeting certain eligibility criteria relating to the projects’ financial and organisational feasibility requirements, and consists of two parts: a €151 million investment into recharging stations for electric motor vehicles, and the allocation of €22 million to the construction of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations as part of a pilot project.
According to the Commission, the scheme is in line with Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Not only the measure, indeed, will encourage a significant uptake of zero and low emissions vehicles, thereby outweighing any potential distortion of competition, but the government will put in place safeguards limiting the aid to the minimum such as, among others, a non-discriminatory, open and transparent procedure to verify applications, and the availability of a significant part of the budget only for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).