in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
print the content item

One energy analyst is challenging the commonly held belief that European nations' renewable energy policies are more progressive than those in place in the U.S.

"Whisper it quietly," says Jonathan Lane, head of consulting for power utilities at research firm GlobalData. "The U.S. has a more progressive renewable support policy than Europe. In the U.S., the major federal support scheme for renewables - the production tax credit - provides a tax break for renewable generators of $0.022/kWh for 10 years."

In many European countries, renewable energy subsidies are loaded onto customers’ electricity bills - usually through a tax, or sometimes via an electricity retailer obligation - a policy Lane calls “perverse.”

“Whilst this approach confers the advantage of keeping tax subsidies out of the electricity sector, with the competitive market setting the price for consumers, the reality is that it is government intervention pushing prices upwards,” he explains.

In fact, Lane says Europe should actually look to the U.S. as an example for successful energy policy.

“As energy prices become more politically charged across the world, Europe should take a look at the U.S,” he continues. “The problem with Europe’s policy is growing fuel poverty. Electricity and gas prices increase rapidly against a recessionary backdrop, with little or no wage growth and high food and road fuel inflation.

"This can’t be considered fair, and the complaints are getting louder," Lane says. "The reason that governments subsidize renewable generation is a social good - aimed at reducing carbon emissions and reducing fossil-fuel import dependency - and it makes far more sense for these goals to be delivered via general taxation. Under the U.S. system, those most able to pay for renewables do so. Under the European system, those least able to afford it pay.”

Hybrid Energy Innovations

Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Latest Top Stories

To Help Combat Costly Electricity Theft, Emerging Markets Turn To Smart Grid Infrastructure

According to a new report, the world loses a whopping $89.3 billion to electricity theft annually, and emerging country markets are feeling a majority of the pain.


Report: Utilities Face Big Revenue Cuts From Distributed Energy Resources

According to a new report from Accenture, the growth of solar and other resources, such as energy storage, could mean significant losses for utilities.


NextEra To Acquire Hawaiian Electric In $4.3 Billion Merger Deal

If approved, the agreement between the two energy companies would produce one of North America's largest renewable energy players.


EPA Racks Up Over 1.6 Million Comments On Carbon Pollution Plan

Months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan, which will create new regulations for existing power plants, the agency says it has received loads of feedback to consider.


Smart Grid Interest Continues To Spread Among U.S. Rural Utilities

A new survey gauges rural smart grid efforts across the country and offers key findings, one of which is that nearly all utilities polled are doing something to modernize their systems.

S&C Electric_id176
edf_id180