Europe’s larger CO2 emitter, the German power company RWE, has issued a statement criticising the EU’s plan to make electricity generators pay for their CO2 emission permits in full from 2013:
Companies such as ours that… rely on coal-fired power generation will
find themselves at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis companies like EDF, which
are based mainly on nuclear and have virtually no CO 2 costs…
This, RWE claimed, will spell the ‘end of fair competition in the energy sector in Europe’
Maybe I’ve missed something here. Isn’t that the point of this entire exercise – to end competition based on nothing but price? Or rather, to include in the price of electricity some of the all-too real environmental factors that we will all pay for before long, not least the 140 million tons of CO2 RWE pump into the atmosphere every year.
Pointing at EDF, France’s nuclear power generator, is quite bogus – the same point could be made about wind farms.
No, this is where environmental policy starts to bite. Will the EU have the political will make it stick – and, given the commitment of most EU countries to coal-, gas- and oil-based power generation, is the policy going to lead to serious economic and political problems as electricity costs start to rise to pay for the permits?