Electricity market must serve higher climate ambition

(EurActiv, 12 Nov 2018) As negotiations on the EU’s new electricity market enter their crucial trialogue phase, the bloc faces a litmus test for the credibility of its climate ambition. With only two trialogues left, the fate of coal subsidies is still not sealed while COP24 is approaching, writes Joanna Flisowska.

Joanna Flisowska is coal policy coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

The reform of the electricity market design, and the new rules for capacity mechanisms in particular, are entering the final stretch with the two remaining negotiation meetings gathering representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. They are expected to decide whether to end subsidies to coal plants through so-called capacity mechanisms, or to continue to burn taxpayers’ money on this obsolete and harmful technology for another decade.

Align capacity mechanisms with climate goals

In order to limit funding for the most polluting power plants, the European Parliament has backed the European Commission’s proposal to exclude plants emitting more than 550 grams of CO2 per kWh from receiving capacity mechanism support from 2025. But some governments, including the Polish one, are lobbying against this much needed limitation on the use of capacity mechanisms. The current Council position proposes to delay the enforcement of this “550 rule” until 2035.

Capacity mechanisms, which are supposedly intended to ensure supply in case extra power is needed, have been wide-spread across the European Union and have become the largest single source of subsidies to power plants, adding almost €58 billion to energy bills of EU citizens. Coal power plants receive the vast majority of these massive public subsidies, despite their unprofitability and their harmful impacts on our climate, environment and health.

External link

EurActiv, 12 Nov 2018: Electricity market must serve higher climate ambition