The bosses of ten of Europe’s largest energy utilities joined forces against the support schemes for renewable energies. Nicknamed “The Magritte Group”, the CEOs of giants such as German RWE, Italian Enel and Eni, French GDF Suez, Swedish Vattenfall and Spanish Iberdrola, stated that support needs to be directed towards gas-powered capacity and not renewables. The group “warned” that the risk of black-outs has never been higher in Europe, due to the “oversupply” of renewable energy, which in turn leaves the system susceptible to fluctuations resulting from problems in storing energy from renewable sources.
At a hearing before the European Parliament, on 9 October 2013, in the presence of Energy Commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, Gerard Mestrallet CEO of GDF SUEZ, stated that “[w]e have to reduce the speed at which Europe is building new wind farms and solar panels. At the moment, it is not sustainable”.
In response to the statements from the Magritte Group, a pro-renewables industry coalition issued a joint statement calling on EU policy makers to support ambitious and binding renewable energy targets, with a view to 2030. According to the statement of the group of 77 companies and associations, “[s]uch a framework bears the opportunity to reduce the current costs of uncertainty, mobilise the needed funding, help to protect the environment, decrease the costs of decarbonisation, facilitate the creation of new jobs and enhance the EU’s technology leadership.”
In 2010, the International Energy Agency published a report which estimated that the subsidies to climate changing fossil fuelled energy generation totaled a global $ 312 billion.