The European Union must ensure a political and regulatory level playing field for all low-carbon energy sources – nuclear, wind, solar, hydro – in the EU energy mix, Westinghouse Electric Company said today.
The company, whose technology is the basis for approximately half of the world’s commercial nuclear plants, called on the EU to design and support a new electricity market that rewards all low-carbon energy, including nuclear, with equal access to the electricity grid.
Westinghouse said the EU should set a strong carbon price signal by “drastically reforming” the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The reforms should support all climate-friendly energy sources in the same way, Westinghouse said.
The EU says the ETS is a cornerstone of its policy to combat climate change. It works on the “cap and trade” principle. A cap, or limit, is set on the total amount of certain greenhouse gases that can be emitted by the factories, power plants and other installations in the system. The cap is reduced over time so that total emissions fall.
Speaking today ahead of a meeting of EU energy ministers in Luxembourg, Westinghouse president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Yves Brachet, said the debate on Europe’s energy and climate future is in danger of ignoring nuclear energy, which provides the highest share of the EU’s energy needs.
He said political debate on a proposed Energy Union has not been complete. Nuclear is low-carbon, safe, secure and affordable power. If Europe doesn’t want to rely on energy imports, nuclear has an important role to play, Mr Brachet said.
Westinghouse said the contribution of nuclear to the EU energy mix – 29 percent of the EU’s total primary production – accounts for more than solar, wind and hydropower combined (24 percent), as well as solid fuels such as coal (20 percent), gas (17 percent) and oil (nine percent). Nuclear accounts for 55 percent of the EU’s low-carbon electricity.
“Westinghouse urges the EU institutions to show leadership and end the uncertainty that hangs over the future direction of EU energy and climate policy,” the company said.