LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Carbon emissions from top EU power producers rose in 2007 by the same amount as the previous five years as a result of burning more coal and more production overall, said a PwC report this week.
German utility RWE (RWEG.DE) recorded the biggest increase in carbon factor — meaning the amount of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) produced per unit of electricity — due to a reduction in the use of nuclear, the report found.
RWE was also the top overall emitter among Europe’s electricity producers, spewing 147 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, polluting companies have to buy carbon permits above a certain emissions limit.
In theory that should encourage utilities to use low carbon alternatives such as gas in preference to coal, but the scheme handed out too many permits in its first phase from 2005-07, causing a carbon price crash which diminished its impact.
Greece’s Public Power Corp. (PPC) (DEHr.AT) and Dutch utility Nuon had the highest carbon factors, with PPC three times the average of the largest European utilities, found the European Carbon Factor 2008 report published by accounting firm PwC [PWC.UL].
Last year, the top 22 utilities in the EU generated 3,183 terawatt hours of electricity and emitted 800 million tonnes of CO2, representing 53 percent of the total carbon emissions pumped out by the 27-nation bloc’s energy sector.
Their emissions rose by 23 million tonnes or 3 percent over 2006, and by 46 million tonnes above 2001.
“In other words, the rise in CO2 emissions observed during 2007 equals the total rise in emissions seen over the 5 years previous,” the report said.
Czech power generator CEZ CEZPsp.PR saw the biggest increase in emissions, jumping by 29 percent to 46.9 million tonnes on a rise in total power produced and a shift towards burning more coal, PwC said.
Finland’s Fortum FUM1V.HE, Austria’s Verbund (VERB.VI) and British Energy BGY.L were named the least emitting utilities, as they produce most of their power from low-emitting nuclear, or from renewable sources like wind or hydro.
Denmark’s DONG Energy had the biggest reduction in CO2 last year, cutting by 28 percent or 3.3 million tonnes as a result of producing more renewable energy.
PwC also forecast global emissions would rise to 19 billion tonnes of carbon in 2050, an upwards revision on its 15 billion forecast last year and more than double the 8 billion tonnes emitted in 2006. China and India alone would represent 45 percent of global CO2 emissions by 2050, it said.
To see a table of PwC’s results, click here [ID:nLR723323] (Reporting by Michael Szabo; Editing by James Jukwey)