Utilities call for end of renewable subsidies

14 October 2013

The heads of ten European utilities have called for an end to subsidies on wind and solar energy in order to rectify shortcomings in current EU energy policy.

In a joint statement, the CEOs of ten utilities - including CEZ, Enel, EOn, GDF-Suez, Iberdrola, RWE and Vattenfall - made concrete proposals to "revitalize" Europe's energy policy. They claim that the current policy has failed in its goals of lowered prices, reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and securing energy supply.

The group - representing half of Europe's electricity generating capacity and boasting 213 million customers - said, "Energy security of supply is no longer guaranteed, CO2 emissions are currently on the rise, investments in the sector are not happening and energy bills are rising sharply."

The CEOs claim that investment in the energy sector has been "hampered by the uncertainty of the return on investment, in part due to the lack of a clear, foreseeable and objective energy policy framework based on stable and predictable regulation."

Energy bills for domestic customers have risen 17% over the past four years, while bills for industrial users have jumped 21%, the group noted. In order for consumers to pay a fair price for energy, the utilities said that customer prices should better reflect the market-based cost of producing it. Energy bills, they suggest, "cannot be a vehicle for financing other policies."

The "most mature" renewable technologies - wind and solar - should not receive subsidies, the utilities said, to enhance competition in the energy market. Meanwhile, the "least mature" renewable technologies should only be supported through enhanced R&D efforts.

The utility bosses called for all existing power capacity that contributes to security of supply to be utilised rather than subsidising the construction of new capacity which undermines "a level playing field between competitive technologies.

They also called for a strengthening of the European carbon market with ambitious long-term emission reduction goals so as to support low-carbon sources such as nuclear power.

The utilities have presented their proposals to key European leaders ahead of European Council meetings in early 2014 to discuss energy issues.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News