A contention that the European Commission “systematically underestimates” the cost of nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) and overestimates the cost of renewable power has been called into question by the EU Energy Commissioner’s office.

A study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) found that the EC’s recently-published Green Paper “A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies,” as well as its earlier “Energy Roadmap 2050” are based “on assumed scenarios that are, to a great extent, no longer relevant.”

European Commission

However Nicole Bockstaller, press officer for energy policy at the Office of EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, told Power Engineering International (PEi) that the numbers used by the Institute are “incorrect” and misleading”.

The Institute had highlighted solar photovoltaic power in particular, stating that the Commission hadn’t taken into account that capital costs have in some cases already fallen lower than the Commission’s estimates for 2050. The study had also concluded that, “in contrast to renewable energy, neither nuclear energy nor carbon capture and storage are cost-efficient enough to play a central role in the future European electricity mix.”

Hitting back, Nicole Bockstaller told PEi, “The numbers used by DIW are partly incorrect and based on the old, so called “reference scenario” used within the EU’s 2050 Energy Roadmap exercise of 2011.”

“In this respect, the reference to the text of the Green Paper 2030 is also misleading as the European Commission has not published new and updated figures yet.”

Taking results of the public consultation into account, the Commission intends to develop a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies later this year by presenting proposals based on a new “reference scenario”, accompanied by a decent impact assessment.

“This new “reference scenario” is currently being finalised,” she said.

Ms Bockstaller also pointed to the reference scenarios and assumptions section of the 2050 Energy Roadmap to provide greater clarity.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Kemfert of DIW told Power Engineering International that the DIW study had taken into account correctly all available PRIMES model data and scenarios on which the EU roadmap and partly Green paper are based on.

Professor Kemfert said that, “The Commission now confirms that they are outdated” before adding, “We are glad to hear that the Commission is working on a new “reference Scenario” taking into account recent cost developments of renewable and nuclear energy. We are looking forward to assessing new model scenarios and assessment after finalization.”

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