Locked in the past

New report explores why Europe's big energy companies fear change

Publication - February 26, 2014
The EU climate and energy policy framework for 2030 will set the direction for Europe’s energy system until the middle of the century. The bloc has already adopted three targets for 2020: a 20 per cent reduction of carbon emissions, an increase in the share of renewable energy to 20 per cent, and 20 per cent of energy savings. As the political battle for 2030 policy heats up, some of Europe’s largest power companies want the EU to drop renewable energy and energy efficiency targets and instead restrict measures to a single carbon reduction target. They believe this would allow them the flexibility to continue generating power from large-scale coal, gas and nuclear plants. Additional targets for renewables and efficiency would threaten their traditional business models and foster investments in renewable energy and efficiency technologies.

A report by Greenpeace, Locked in the past: why Europe's big energy companies fear change, investigates the real reasons for the opposition to renewable energy by big utilities. It looks into the their failure to adapt to changing market conditions and argues the EU should shepherd companies towards more economically sustainable business models that are consistent with energy and climate change policies. To help achieve this, the EU should pursue its three target approach for 2030.

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