E.ON CEO rails at RE subsidies

German utility giant E.ON's CEO Johannes Teyssen has made a strong plea to European governments to stop giving generous subsidies to renewable technologies such as wind and solar, which he says are no longer in their infancy.

Teyssen, speaking at the Eurelectric annual conference in London, said that ten years ago renewables were still in an immature state and needed to be nurtured. However, he claims this is no longer the case and to continue giving them special treatment is wrong.

Teyssen argues that Europe should move ahead and scrap all green levies used to support renewables. “Today they are the biggest animal in the zoo and if you continue to treat them as imbeciles and feed them baby nutrition you will just get a sick big cat,” he claimed.

According to Teyssen, the only people blocking debate about ending financial aid for renewables were those who “just want to harvest subsidies without accountability”.

He says “the overriding priority is to rebuild trust with our customers, which has not been in the forefront of our thinking for some years.

“We have all been in discussions about the carbon reduction issue for quite some time, but now with retail prices skyrocketing for our customers the main issue is energy affordability."

The rapid expansion of renewables and cheap coal prices has forced E.ON to mothball some of its gas-fired power plants in Europe which are losing money. Warnings have been sounded that this increases the risk of power cuts at time of peak demand.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of UK utility SSE, also claimed Europe should be moving towards phasing out subsidies.

“However, we may still need to carry on putting money into certain new technologies,” he added.