MEP Position Paper:  EU Energy Policy “creating an industrial massacre”

MEP Position Paper: EU Energy Policy “creating an industrial massacre”

 As a MEP and a member of the ITRE Committee, I fear that we in Europe face a double energy crisis – in terms of competitiveness, but also security of supply. Former Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has said “Europe can no longer afford to adopt a unilateral climate policy”.  And former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani has said “We are creating an Industrial Massacre in Europe”.  They are right. The EU has set aggressive targets for emissions reductions, which have meant gross over-investment in intermittent and expensive renewables.  Brussels has forced the closure of low-cost coal-fired power stations.  It has created a cat’s-cradle of subsidies; incentives; feed-in tariffs; renewables obligations; quasi-carbon-taxes like the Emissions Trading Scheme; capacity payments for spinning reserve; and so on.  And it has resolutely set its face against low-cost alternatives like coal and indigenous gas. When I challenged the new EU Energy Commissioner Cañete on this issue, his solution was simply “a more integrated European energy market”.  That’s fiddling at the margin, and ignoring the real issues. Energy pricing in the EU is driving industries, jobs and investment off-shore, often to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, thus potentially increasing global emissions, while we undermine European economies.  Let’s look at some examples. [Tweet "Since 2007, the European aluminium smelting industry has closed 36% of its capacity"]Take aluminium.  Since 2007, the European aluminium smelting industry has closed 36% of its capacity – eleven smelters out of 24.  It’s lost around 42,000 jobs – many of them high-value jobs in R&D.  And this is not because of lack of demand, which has been rising.  So imports have been rising [...]
56th Energy Dialogue at the Reichstag. Focus on Germany’s nuclear legacy

56th Energy Dialogue at the Reichstag. Focus on Germany’s nuclear legacy

The 56th Energy Dialogue at the Reichstag concentrated on Germany’s nuclear legacy. The panel discussion was held at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Friedbert Pflüger, Janusz Reiter and Central European Energy Partners (CEEP) on the 30th of January. Ms. Ursula Heinen-Esser, Chair of the Commission of the German Parliament on the Storage of Highly Radioactive Waste Materials, gave an overview of the inner workings and methodology of the structure she heads. Admitting that the process of finding final storage places for nuclear waste is slow, Ms. Esser declared that the Commission tries to conduct it on the strong footing of consensus, when it fulfils its three main institutional responsibilities: establishing the technical criteria for the repository, organising the process and evaluating the existing laws, as well as determining the requirements for information and participation of the population. Dr. Ralf Güldner, President of the German Nuclear Forum and Chief Executive Officer of E.ON Nuclear Power, emphasised that the lifespan of a nuclear power plant is currently longer than a human one – which makes the nuclear issue in Germany one with recurring complexities due to the generational factor. Both the introduction of nuclear power to Germany and the phase-out were based on societal consensus. According to Dr. Güldner, German society needs to reach a third consensus – one regarding the best possible way to store nuclear waste – by setting firm standards and respecting them. Mr. Stefan Wenzel, Minister of Lower Saxony for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection, underlined the importance of such a debate, particularly now, as - despite the introduction of nuclear energy to Germany more than [...]

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