Karlsruhe. EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG welcomes the widely reported intentions of the EU Commission in Brussels to subject the national allocation plan (NAP) drawn up by the federal government in Germany to a renewed assessment. "We welcome the declaration of the EU Commission as reported in the media that Germany will have to rework its allocation scheme. Brussels has obviously understood that the German legislation package distorts competition in a dramatic way", is how Prof. Dr. Utz Claassen, CEO of EnBW, views the standpoint of the EU Commission. He adds that "now there is hopefully a chance that the system of emission trading in Germany, a process that is highly welcome in and of itself, can be structured in such a way that it is fair as well as economically feasible and ecologically effective for all the parties involved."
In mid-June, EnBW filed an objection with the EU Commission against the German law as it saw itself at a disadvantage above all due to the so-called transfer provisions which allow major CO2 emitters - in particular operators of lignite power stations - to transfer wide-ranging pollution rights to new power plants. EnBW believes, and it is supported by numerous experts in this belief, that the transfer provisions distort competition in the energy sector and are ineffective from an ecological point of view as they lead to extensive "profit-taking". In addition, EnBW claims that emission trading in its intended form retrospectively discriminates nuclear power in a way that was explicitly ruled out in the consensus on nuclear power.
Last Friday, it became known that the EU Commission intends to reject the German plan and to give the federal government until September to remedy the inconsistencies. EnBW is now optimistic about the forthcoming decision of the EU Commission on emission trading. EnBW CEO Claassen: "We are confident that the EU Commission will give the rule of law priority over individual political interests. It is encouraging to see how painstakingly and matter-of-factly the EU Commission obviously deals with issues of this kind."
During the original legislation process, EnBW attempted unsuccessfully to draw the attention of the federal government to the serious distortion of competition that would be caused by the submitted legislation package. Politicians from all parties, members of the Bundestag parliament, the state government in Baden-Württemberg and even party colleagues of Federal Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin (German Green Party) supported EnBW in this endeavour; but the Federal Environment Ministry responsible for the decision failed to take due account of the criticisms and the known legal reservations.
EnBW is by no means in opposition to the concept of emission trading, which can serve as a beneficial instrument to reduce harmful gas emissions if used correctly. The company believes there are a number of meaningful options for the constructive modification of the legal provisions in Germany. "We don't want to see an increase in the permitted volume of emissions", says Claassen, adding that it must, however, be possible to achieve ecological progress in a way that is economically workable and legally unobjectionable and that does not distort competition.