"When it comes to state aid, renewables are the poor relation."
A leaked document from the European Commission reveals the true scale of EU energy subsidies. Each year member states spend €40 billion on supporting fossil fuels (including indirect subsidies), €35 billion on nuclear, and just €30 billion on renewable energy. When it comes to state aid, renewables are the poor relation!
The figures emerge from an official EU document published by the Energy Commissioner, Guenther Oettinger. But not from the official version which is sanitised of this key information. The original version written by his civil servants was suppressed, and only discovered by the journalist Cerstin Gammelin of the German news daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. She believes that the key passages showing the scale of subsidy for fossil fuels and nuclear power were deleted by Commissioner Oettinger himself.
This fits with the fact that Oettinger has been campaigning to allow additional state aid for nuclear power - most immediately at Hinkley C in Somerset where a support package worth over £100 billion has been agreed by the UK Government and French parastatal EDF to build a 3.2GW station with Chinese government owned nuclear companies.
"The purpose of this paper is to shape core policy for the energy sector", said Claude Turmes, who speaks for the Green Party on energy at the EU. "Manipulating its findings to suit the political agenda of one individual would totally undermine the credibility of the Commission’s work in this area. Commission president Barroso must intervene to ensure the real figures on state subsidies to fossil-fuelled and nuclear energy are reinstated."