Green Energy Policy Threatens EU’s Energy Security, Utilities Warn
Nine of Europe’s biggest utilities have joined forces to warn that the EU’s energy policies are putting the continent’s power supplies at risk. Their intervention will put added pressure on EU leaders as they weigh the future of the bloc’s climate change policies.
Gérard Mestrallet, chief executive of GDF Suez, the world’s biggest power producer by output, and Paolo Scaroni, head of Italian oil group Eni, will present proposals for reforming the system at a European Parliament meeting on Tuesday.
They will say that, partly as a result of failed EU policies, Europe’s energy security is no longer guaranteed, carbon emissions are on the rise, investments in the sector are not happening and fuel bills are rising.
Mr Mestrallet said one of the biggest problems was overgenerous renewable energy subsidies that had pushed up costs for energy consumers and now needed to be cut: “We have to reduce the speed at which Europe is building new wind farms and solar panels. At the moment, it is not sustainable.”
He argued that some renewables no longer required public subsidies, and government support should be “limited to technologies that are not mature today, such as tidal and wave power”.
Mr Mestrallet and Mr Scaroni will be representing their own companies and seven others: Enel, Eon, RWE, GasTerra, Iberdrola, Gas Natural and Vattenfall. Together, the nine groups have €900bn in revenues and more than 500,000 employees.
Their intervention will put added pressure on EU leaders as they weigh the future of the bloc’s climate change policies.
Governments are split over whether to extend mandatory 2020 targets requiring fewer greenhouse gas emissions and more renewable energy by setting new targets for 2030.
The nine utility companies – in line with the UK government and some others – do not favour another binding renewable energy target.
Instead, they are calling for an “ambitious but realistic” emissions reduction goal as part of a wider move to beef up the EU’s emissions trading system, which is the world’s biggest carbon market.