Greek request for free CO2 emission rights rejected by the EU

A bid by the main power utility PPC for exemption from CO2 emission right costs, an issue that was raised last week by energy minister Panos Skourletis during a meeting with Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete, has been rejected by the EU executive body, energypress sources have informed.

Ten fellow EU member states have been exempted on the grounds of their respective GDP sizes, which must measure less than 60 percent of the EU average, based on 2013 figures. The European Commission now intends to use 2014 as a criterion for the exemption.

The local initiative taken by PPC had received the backing of Greece’s industrial sector. Even if progress had been achieved, it would have been extremely difficult to roll over to consumers and the industrial sector the exemption’s resulting savings for PPC on lignite-fired electricity production costs, as had been anticipated.

Also, EU members benefiting from the exemption are committed to inject the savings into efforts intended to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact, rather than simply reduce electricity tariffs for consumers.

Greece’s bid for the exemption was rejected at a high level. Any change to the decision from here on would require including the issue on the agenda of a forthcoming EU summit meeting, where state leaders would decide. Any decision favoring Greece is seen as a highly unlikely prospect.

Even if this hurdle were to be cleared, Greece’s bid for the exemption would need to be accepted by the ten fellow member EU states that have already qualified. These ten states, including Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Romania, share amounts contributed to a modernization fund by all 27 member states. Greece’s entry would decrease their respective shares from the fund.