Commission paper advocates export credits for coal power

An unpublished European Commission paper, which proposes export credits for European coal-fired power plant equipment manufacturers has been disclosed by Reuters.

The news agency reports that it has seen the paper drawn up by officials from the European Commission's trade department. The document proposes that export credits, or preferential loans, continue for more-efficient coal-fired power plant, or clean coal technology.

Ahead of UN talks on a possible climate change global agreement in Paris later in 2015, the EU and other global governments are keen to phase out subsidies for domestic coal plants by 2018 and the European Investment Bank has set an emissions limit for the energy for which it provides preferential loans, meaning coal is excluded.
EU Commission
The paper’s authors are putting forward the elimination of finance for coal-fired plants that use the least energy-efficient technologies , as a potential compromise.

For those efficiency-compliant plant makers it proposes reducing the maximum length for repaying loans to eight or 10 years, down from 12.

In a briefing paper on coal finance, the WWF said countries around the world provided $7 billion over the period 2007-2013 for developing coal overseas.

However the figure is well behind subsidies for other fossil fuel- powered facilities. According to a recent IMF report, gas power accounted for $112bn in 2013, with oil-fired power accounting for $212bn in subsidies in the same year.

Of this, export credit preferential loans accounted for some $5 billion, with Germany, followed by France, being the biggest provider in Europe.

France's Alstom previously said the risk of removing subsidies is that countries with no limits on coal plant financing would step in and could use less-sophisticated technology.

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