European Energy Bosses Urge Crisis Help to Be Renewable Friendly
(Bloomberg) -- Bosses of some of Europe’s top electricity companies urged the region’s leaders to take measures that support the energy transition as part of efforts to protect consumers from surging power bills.
Executives at companies including Electricite de France SA and Iberdrola SA said governments should be careful that any help for consumers doesn’t discourage utilities from investing in clean energy. Fossil fuels are to blame for the current crisis that’s sent electricity and gas prices soaring, they said in a letter sent to heads of EU states on Thursday.
Governments across the continent have moved to shield their populations from high costs just as their economies recover from the pandemic. On Thursday, Spain said it plans to change a decree signed last month that aimed to lower energy bills for consumers and which included a windfall tax on utilities’ profits. Iberdrola chief Ignacio Galan had criticized the measure, saying it would curb interest to invest in new clean electricity generation in the country.
The letter sent Thursday signals that utilities don’t want to see other countries implement windfall taxes on profits. European leaders will discuss how to tackle the energy crisis at a summit later this month.
“The current situation has been caused by increases in the price of fossil fuels and not by the energy transition itself,” the executives wrote in the letter. They said short sighted political measures “endanger the energy transition objectives of the Green Deal by damaging investors’ confidence in the long term.”
The letter was also signed by executives of companies such as Energias de Portugal SA, Vattenfall AB, Orsted A/S, SSE Plc and Enel SpA. They urged EU government action that would support consumers while also promoting investment in renewables and other carbon-neutral power sources.
Such measures could include:
- Cutting taxes on electricity bills to reduce pressure on retail power prices.
- Accelerating construction of new renewable energy generation.
- Improve long-term price signals for clean energy investment.
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