Ten EU utilities call openly for an end to renewables subsidies.

Euractiv.com: “The group – which includes top utilities such as France’s GDF Suez, Germany’s E.ON, Spain’s Iberdrola and Italy’s Enel – has made an impact, as several countries, including Spain, Germany and France, have reviewed or are reviewing support schemes for renewable energy.” “With an unprecedented joint press conference of 10 CEOs in Brussels on Friday, the Magritte group hopes to put pressure on EU policy makers ahead of an energy summit early next year, and wants to press its case for considering wind and solar as a mature industry that no longer requires subsidies.
“European energy policy has run into the wall,” GDF Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet said.
With power demand falling due to the economic crisis and the EU’s energy efficiency drive, wholesale power prices have dropped by about half since 2008, but retail prices for consumers have remained near record levels.
….Critics say the traditional utilities industry has ignored solar and wind for too long, with the result that these new power sources are mainly owned by non-utility players: solar panels by private citizens and wind turbines by smaller energy companies, municipalities and citizens’ cooperatives.
The power generation overcapacity has been aggravated by the U.S. shale gas boom, which has led to a flood of cheap U.S. coal to Europe as U.S. utilities switched to gas-fired plants.
That has forced European utilities to close 51 gigawatt of modern gas-fired power plants – the equivalent of the combined capacity of Belgium, the Czech Republic and Portugal.
The closing of these flexible gas plants is jeopardising Europe’s energy security, Mestrallet said, as these plants are essential back-up for intermittent wind and solar.
Mestrallet said that while Europe can deal with long and cold winters like in 2012-13, a two-week stretch of very cold weather with temperatures below minus 10 Celsius could lead to blackouts because of lack of standby capacity.”