21 June 2024

Critical oversight: European power utilities lack plans to phase out fossil gas

BERLIN, 26 JUNE 2024 – A new report assessing the transition plans of five European power utilities reveals that none include the critical commitment to phase out fossil gas power by 2035, as recommended by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [1].

The new report “Power Moves and Power Failures,” produced within the Beyond Fossil Fuels coalition, assesses the plans of Enel, ENGIE, EPH, Iberdrola and Statkraft, and reveals a promising increase in investments in renewable energy [2]. However, three of these companies, Enel, ENGIE and EPH, remain significant developers of fossil gas-fired power plants, undermining the transition to a renewables-based power sector in Europe and pursuing strategies that would lock them and the countries in which they operate into burning more gas. 

EPH, Enel, and ENGIE’s so-called transition plans fail to deliver a transition away from fossil fuels, and as such, make as much sense as driving a car with the handbrake on. Their commitment to developing new gas-fired power plants will lock in future emissions and hinder Europe’s ability to meet its climate goals. They will also leave their financial backers at risk of not meeting net zero commitments. Iberdrola and Statkraft show that transition plans largely focused on readily-available and easily-deployable wind, solar, storage, and grid solutions are feasible. Financial institutions must push power companies to adopt genuine transition plans and support the decarbonisation of the power sector,” says Pierre-Alain Sebrecht of Reclaim Finance. 

Currently, banks, investors, and rating agencies lack effective methods to consistently evaluate utilities’ energy transition plans, making it difficult for them to draw meaningful comparisons and ensure their support is only directed to those companies whose plans align with climate science. The report is the first in a series that will offer financial institutions a replicable framework to accurately evaluate the transition plans of power utilities and make informed, sustainable investment decisions.

The financing decisions being made today will determine how successful Europe will be at decarbonising its power sector by 2035. We are presenting a new tool to assess utility plans, so that financial actors can engage with their power utility clients to make a genuine contribution to the transition to a fossil-free, renewables-based power sector by 2035,” says Brigitte Alarcon, campaigner at Beyond Fossil Fuels.

END

Contacts:

Julia Pazos, Communications Officer, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +13109949692

For questions related to specific utilities, please contact:

Enel: Antonio Tricarico, Campaigner, ReCommon, [email protected]
ENGIE: Pierre-Alain Sebrecht, Project Coordinator, Reclaim Finance [email protected]
EPH: Radek Kubala, Campaigner, Re-set, [email protected]
Iberdrola: Carlota Ruiz Bautista, Environment and Energy Lawyer, IIDMA [email protected]

Statkraft: Brigitte Alarcon, Campaigner, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected] 

Notes:

  1. https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050 
  2. The Power Moves and Power Failures: a first assessment of European utilities’ transition plans report was developed by Beyond Fossil Fuels, Reclaim Finance, IIDMA, IEEFA, WWF, ReCommon, and Re-set.

About: 

Beyond Fossil Fuels is a collective civil society campaign committed to ensuring all of Europe’s electricity is generated from fossil-free, renewable energy by 2035. It expands and builds upon the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, and its goal of a coal-free Europe in power and heat by 2030 at the latest. www.beyondfossilfuels.org

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