LONDON May 26 Britain should encourage
investment in low-carbon energy like nuclear power by setting a
minimum charge that fossil fuel burning generators must pay to
emit climate-warming carbon dioxide, EDF Energy said on Tuesday.
The UK arm of French state-run nuclear energy giant EDF
(EDF.PA) has said it could build four new reactors in England as
part of the British government's plan to replace the country's
Power generators in European Union already have to buy
permits to emit carbon from gas, oil and coal-fired power plants
under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
But emissions prices have been too low CFI2Z9 and
unpredictable to really discourage high carbon fuels and ensure
long term investment in clean generation because too many
permits were given away in the first two phases.
"EDF Energy is proposing to strengthen the ETS scheme in the
UK with a floor price for carbon," the world's largest nuclear
power generator said in a statement, warning that Britain would
not achieve its target to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by
2050 without a carbon-free electricity sector.
"This is not a subsidy but a cost payable by carbon
emitters. This would help create a level playing field for all
low carbon technologies in the UK and deliver investments which
achieve affordable prices for customers."
Like other European countries, Britain has its own
additional support scheme for renewable technologies, which are
more expensive than fossil fuel fired plants. But it has
repeatedly refused to subsidise nuclear power despite relying on
private companies to build enough multi-billion pound nuclear
plants to replace the UK's ageing state-built reactors.
The government said in last year's energy White Paper it
would consider ways to reinforce support for low-carbon energy
to provide greater certainty for investors in the UK.
Full auctioning of carbon permits in phase three of the EU
ETS, starting from 2013, may push carbon emitting costs high
enough to support nuclear new build without an artificial floor.
"We agree that a robust carbon price is part of the
conditions that we need for long term investments," a
spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Shange
"The best was achieving a robust carbon price is through the
EU ETS and we think that will be significantly tightened in the
EDF Energy paid 12.5 billion pounds ($19.88 billion) for
nuclear generator British Energy earlier this year so it could
build new plants on its land and industry sources said it paid
about 160 million pounds in an auction last month for some more
land at another potential site. [ID:nLT011202]
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren, editing by Anthony Barker)