EWEA calls for subsidy transparency

The head of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has called for greater clarity and transparency in the "skewed" debate around European energy subsidies.

"At a time when everyone is worrying about energy prices and looking for a scapegoat, we need to know exactly how much taxpayers money different energy sources get,” says Thomas Becker,  EWEA’s chief executive.

He says "it is therefore alarming to read reports that EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger is attempting to hide such figures”.

Oettinger has been accused of attempting to conceal information on the full scale of the public subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels. Reports claim he crossed out figures estimating subsidies for fossils in a draft of an upcoming communication on the EU electricity market.

However, a spokeswoman for Oettinger claims that the original figures were removed because they were unreliable.  Instead they were replaced in later drafts with a few sentences that claimed the precise subsidies for each technology remain unclear.

"Comparing a price for offshore wind in the UK in 2018 (£135/MWhr) which lasts 15 years, to a different price for nuclear in 2023 (£92.50) which lasts 35 years, is like comparing apples to oranges,” says Becker.

"These prices are calculated assuming that the new nuclear reactor will last for 60 years – which would be a world first. And they don’t take into account the huge public decommissioning  costs – £1.9bn per year for nuclear in the UK. Not to mention the incalculable risk to public health and safety that no-one has yet put a figure to.

"The UK government is injecting an old-school technology, which other countries are relegating to the history books, with a double dose of money – a strike price twice the market price – to keep nuclear alive,” he points out.