Action urged to green EU power markets

Greenpeace claims liberalisation threatening renewables, greenhouse gas emission targets

Liberalisation of the EU's electricity markets is undermining growth in renewable energy and will not currently enable achievement of targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Greenpeace claimed yesterday. The group called on the EU to set new environment-based standards and eliminate "policy contradictions" so as to reconcile open power markets and environmental protection.

Based on a new report assessing electricity liberalisation in an environmental context, Greenpeace's latest intervention reiterates long-expressed criticisms of the EU's power market programme. According to campaigner Karl Mallon the study also goes beyond previous critiques by analysing market developments flowing from liberalisation.

Two key ones are increased market consolidation and greater price volatility largely caused by this. Both factors tend to penalise small firms, among which are the overwhelming majority of renewable energy companies. The competitive playing field is further rigged against renewable energies by continuing large-scale national subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources, Greenpeace says.

In response, the group says, the EU should counter market domination by introducing environmental performance standards for electricity generators. It should help renewable energy producers to hedge price volatility risks. More broadly it should take steps to internalise external costs of nuclear and fossil fuel generation, thus making renewable and clean energies more competitive.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace International, tel: +31 20 523 6222, and the full report.

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