WindEurope warns on EU windfall measures

Industry body WindEurope has warned the EU about imposing windfall measures on wind power companies as the bloc looks to limit the impact of soaring electricity prices on consumers.

WindEurope called for any windfall measures to be imposed in a way that they do not drive investors away from renewables
WindEurope called for any windfall measures to be imposed in a way that they do not drive investors away from renewables

WindEurope recognised that limited gas supplies from Russia had driven up electricity prices across Europe amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, increasing energy bills for households and businesses.

However, the trade body called for any emergency measures to be imposed on electricity markets to be temporary and imposed only on “actual profits”. Such measures should also not drive investors away from renewables, it added.

EU energy ministers are due to meet on Friday (9 September) to discuss a range of emergency measures to deal with high gas and electricity prices. WindEurope noted that in the past year, prices have gone up tenfold across Europe.

The industry body called for wind farms on fixed revenues not to be subject to windfall measures, including taxes on increased profits.

It argued that most wind farms are not earning the wholesale electricity price, which has been dramatically inflated in recent months. Instead, wind farms typically receive a fixed price for their electricity output – either from a government-backed support scheme or power purchase agreement with an industrial consumer, or they have hedged revenues against fluctuations in the wholesale market.

Therefore, wind farms typically do not earn the upside from higher prices, WindEurope argued.

The renewable energy industry reacted with similar alarm to planned windfall measures announced in Germany over the weekend.

Berlin wants to introduce a price cap on electricity and allow consumers to buy a basic volume of electricity at a reduced price, before paying higher prices for excessive use. This would be funded by windfall taxes on energy companies.

But the federal association of renewable energy warned that windfall taxes – that could be levied on firms supplying electricity produced by wind and solar – would exacerbate problems faced by clean energy companies.

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