HomeGas & Oil FiredEmissions ControlStudy questions timing of U.S. utilities' withdrawal from Europe

Study questions timing of U.S. utilities’ withdrawal from Europe

May 13, 2002 – ICF Consulting analysis has shown that the European power markets are about to experience a major upswing, just as a number of U.S.-owned power companies pack up and leave.

Many U.S. power companies have found the European markets to be an uncomfortable place to do business with excess production capacity, high valuations being placed on assets, and strong competition from the entrenched European utilities.

However, with environmental pressure tightening on the European power sector, particularly constraints on carbon emissions, a massive investment in new power stations will be needed over the next few years to meet energy needs. With their painfully won knowledge of the European markets, trading structures already in place, and more merchant project development and financing experience than European rivals, the U.S. companies could be major beneficiaries of the European situation.

Simon Allen, President of ICF Consulting Europe, said, “The U.S. power companies seem to be retreating at exactly the wrong time. The perception of U.S. investors has been shaped by low returns over the last few years and uncertainty regarding the evolution of competitive and liquid power markets in Europe. However, our analysis shows substantial opportunities exist in the future for attractive generation investments as the European markets react to environmental pressures.”

Managing consultant Neil Cornelius added, “With excess generating capacity and generally low prices, the European power sector seems an unlikely candidate for a surge in investment. However, the strong desire of the European Governments to meet ambitious Kyoto emission reduction targets will change the picture in a dramatic fashion. We estimate that up to $90 billion will have to be invested in order to cut power sector carbon dioxide emissions and meet national renewable generation targets.”

For additional information on ICF Consulting’s European Wholesale Power Outlook 2002, please contact Neil Cornelius at 44 (0) 207 554 8741 or NCornelius@ICFConsulting.com.

ICF Consulting (https://icfconsulting.com ) is a management, technology, and policy consulting firm. Drawing upon its extensive industry knowledge, credentialed professionals, and innovative analytics, the firm develops solutions to complex energy, environment, emergency management, community development, and transportation issues.

ICF Consulting successfully implements strategies and analyses in these areas through its expertise in information technology, organizational improvement, and communications. Since 1969, ICF Consulting has been serving major corporations, government at all levels, and multinational institutions from key business centers in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Excluding the recently announced acquisition of two Arthur D. Little divisions, ICF Consulting has 800 employees and reported gross revenue of $121 million in 2001.