The EU must end subsidies for renewable energy if it wants to regain its competitiveness, a group of top CEOs said on Friday.
The heads of the ten utility firms, which own roughly half of Europe’s electricity capacity, argue that the market is already struggling with overcapacity.
The European Commission wants the EU to draw 20 percent of its energy supply from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and biomass, by 2020.
It also wants to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent and increase energy savings to 20 percent of projected levels
But E.On CEO Johannes Teyssen told euronews that “The renewable “subsidies are reaching a level, that is totally unbearable.”
“This industry is the biggest kid on the block today, and not a child any longer. And does not need child nutrition. It needs integration to the market on a high level,” he said.
E.On forms part of the Magritte Group – a collection of ten utility companies from across Europe. Other members include France’s GDF Suez and Germany’s RWE.
The companies want a single energy market and an end to national governments interfering with pricing.
Gérard Mestrallet, the chief executive of GDF Suez, said it was not Brussels’ fault for the current state of affairs.
“It is due to the Balkanisation of the individual decisions taken by the by member states,” he told euronews.
The firms argue subsidies for solar and wind energy are pushing up prices for consumers and distorting the market.
But critics say the technology works and point out that the utility giants were too slow to invest in renewables.
Europe is also struggling to cope with cheap coal imports from the US, following a shale gas boom.
EU energy policy and its costs will be debated by heads of state and government at a summit early next year.