The European Commission has revealed plans for a controversial series of energy policies that will see subsidies for fossil fuels prolonged and potentially threaten the progress of renewable energy adoption.
Greenpeace has warned that the new proposed laws - currently in draft form - will benefit coal power plants rather than citizens themselves across Europe. They said that the move would 'slam the brakes' on the progress of renewables and allow EU governments to continue to subsidy polluting fossil fuel power stations across the Union for ten years or more, seriously jeopardising the EU's likelihood of meeting its Paris 2020 climate commitments.
The subsidy measures include capacity payments which would be directed to nuclear, gas and coal companies. This is despite a surplus of capacity in the EU electricity market. Under the proposed scheme, over 95pc of fossil fuel plants would be able to apply for the capacity subsidy payments until 2026. Only new plants would be obliged to meet C02 emission thresholds.
The EC has also proposed to remove an existing law that means power grids must prioritise the receipt of energy from renewable sources before energy from fossil fuel sources. This would mean that renewables would fall out of favour, as solar and wind sources are far easier to switch off than nuclear and coal stations. As a result, if the legislation is passed, it is expected to lead to an effective block on green energy investments and progress.
Additional proposals would help cooperatives and individual citizens alike to generate, use, store and retail their own green energy sources, but at a capped limit of 18MW annually per project. The proposals will now go through a review and agreement process that is expected to last for 18 months.