“Climate change is a fact that we must address. It can’t wait that the European economic situation returns to a path of growth. However, the decision whether to reduce emissions in a cost-effective and feasible manner or in a costly and complicated manner is in the hands of our politicians. This autumn the EU’s newly elected decision-makers should reach a consensus on the future direction of the energy and climate policy,” Fortum’s President and CEO Tapio Kuula said today, 2 July 2014, at Fortum’s energy seminar during Almedalen Week, which is considered to be the most important annual forum in Swedish politics.
“Reducing emissions must be included as a goal for the 2030 climate and energy policy. EU-wide, market-driven emissions trading is the best steering mechanism for low-emissions investments, for encouraging energy efficiency improvements and for increasing renewable energy production,” noted Kuula.
“At the same time it is important that EU countries agree on common means for offsetting emissions trading costs for energy-intensive industry to prevent carbon leakage. In the current economic situation Europe needs all its industrial companies and the jobs they offer, and we can’t afford to push companies to go outside the EU. However, the means to correct the international competitiveness of the energy-intensive sector must not undermine the functioning of the emissions trading scheme itself,” Tapio Kuula said.
With the situation in Ukraine, ensuring the availability and security of supply of energy has been brought to the forefront of the energy policy debate. According to Kuula, the 2030 energy and climate package outlined by the European Commission in January supports improving the availability of energy, because a low-carbon energy system requires less imported, fossil fuel-based energy. “A common, competitive and strongly networked internal energy market would decisively improve the EU’s internal energy security and, ultimately, would benefit also customers,” Kuula said.
“Energy policy is a significant part of national economics and of international and national competitiveness, so they will become strongly debated also in Sweden’s parliamentary elections in autumn 2014 and in Finland’s parliamentary elections next spring,” he notes.
Kuula sees the rapid and continuous growth in the share of renewable energy as a positive and necessary component to a low-carbon future. He emphasised, however, that renewable energy must be developed on market basis. “The jungle of subsidies for renewable energy must be gradually streamlined and production must be better integrated with the functioning of the energy market. Even though electricity wholesale prices have decreased, electricity bills for consumers have quickly increased. Electricity users are paying for the renewable energy subsidies, which are burdening consumers and industry also through taxation. The subsidy system is very expensive and distorts the functioning of the energy markets.”
Esa Hyvärinen, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, tel. +358 40 826 2646
Media contact at Almedalen:
Helena Aatinen, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, tel. +358 40 548 6675
Fortum’s purpose is to create energy that improves life for present and future generations. Catering to the versatile needs of our customers, we generate, distribute and sell electricity and heat, and offer related expert services. Our operations focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia and Poland. In 2013, Fortum’s sales totalled EUR 6.1 billion and comparable operating profit was EUR 1.6 billion. We employ approximately 8,800 people. Fortum’s shares are traded on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. www.fortum.com