Earlier this week, The European Commission decided against governmental subsidies for renewable energy projects, by issuing new guidelines in support of back-up energy generating facilities, such as coal- and gas-powered plants. The EU officials claim that this is the only way to ensure secure and affordable electricity for all citizens.
The decision was made after France and a few other member states demanded that additional energy capacity is supplied, which in their words, should come from flexible plants that can be turned on and off as soon as needed. The reasoning behind this is that regardless of weather conditions and amount of sunlight, energy should be generated at any time in the most cost-effective way.
By stopping subsidies for renewable energy, EC claims that state support can now be directed towards, what they say, much needed back-up facilities. In addition, they state that recently the cost of constructing renewable energy generating plants have dropped sufficiently, and therefore there is no need of additional funding.
Any government that decides to implement changes to the new scheme without notifying the EC, might even face legal action, as the EC plans to introduce drastic measures in order to ensure all member states comply with the new regulations. According to the officials, the back-up capacity should not only meet the demands of an individual country, but also consider the needs of all member states.
Interestingly enough, nuclear is not one of the sectors that will receive subsidies, according to the new guidelines. This met quite an opposition from Britain, and some others, who are now in the process of constructing nuclear power facilities.
Nevertheless, the EU still stands behind their goal to reduce emissions from by 20% before 2020, and to give 20% of the total energy generation to renewables. They also demand that if any new coal and gas-powered plants are constructed, these facilities should meet all EU regulations.