Europe’s Green Energy Rules Cost U.K. $156 Billion, Group Says

Aug 12, 2014 7:01 pm ET

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- European Union laws that reduce pollution and ensure energy security may have cost the U.K. as much as 93.2 billion pounds ($156.5 billion), a group campaigning to renegotiate membership in the bloc said.

Business for Britain calculated the impact as a range starting at 86.6 billion pounds and said the rules are threatening jobs and driving companies to nations with lower power prices. The rules account for about 9 percent of the cost of energy for the biggest users such as ceramics and glass makers.

European energy prices are among the highest in the developed world. Some industrial consumers pay about 20 percent more for electricity than companies in China, about 65 percent more than in India and twice as much as in the U.S. and Russia, the report said. Rising prices in the U.K. are threatening as many as 1.5 million jobs, it said.

Europe is aiming for 20 percent of its energy to come from clean sources by 2020. The commission in January proposed that the 28-nation bloc adopt a binding goal to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030 and it also recommended an EU-wide target to boost the share of renewables in energy consumption to 27 percent. The lobby group said Europe should set one target and member states should be free to decide how they meet that.

The U.K. aims to get 20 percent of its energy to come from renewables by 2020. In addition the share of energy from renewable sources in transport must amount to at least 10 percent of final energy consumption by 2020.

European policies to tackle global warming include the Emissions Trading Scheme for trading greenhouse gas emission allowances and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.