WWF and Nature & Environment oppose punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels



Posted on 30 May 2013  | 
Brussels, Belgium: In a position paper [1] published today WWF and Nature & Environment urged EU decisions makers to give up plans to impose punitive import tariffs between 37% and 68% on solar panel imports from China. Such a move would not only undermine the rapid growth of solar power in Europe and destroy jobs but also brings into question the continued path to a clean and renewable energy economy in Europe.

“Punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels threaten a quarter of a million jobs in the European sustainable energy sector. They torpedo affordable renewable energy prices for consumers, suppress the growth of zero-polluting solar power and thus undermine the path to a clean energy economy powered fully by renewables”, said Ron Wit, director of the Energy team at Nature & Environment.

According to estimates, with import levies of 60% on Chinese solar panels, more than 240,000 jobs in the solar industry are at risk across Europe, mainly in the construction and installation sector [2].

Thanks to incentives from governments and cheaper production of the panels, especially in China, the market for solar panels has grown enormously over the last few years. Heavy import duties could lead to a doubling of the purchase price of solar panels and undermine the rapid growth of the solar sector in many European countries. Just when more and more Europeans choose solar panels, the EU Commission risks overthrowing this fantastic movement towards clean energy.

For WWF and Nature & Environment, to disadvantage renewables while carbon emissions and climate change are increasing exponentially is absurd. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when one considers that worldwide two trillion dollars are spent on subsidies for fossil fuels annually [3].

“No doubt the coal, oil, nuclear and gas lobbies will be cracking open the champagne as the Commission is failing to tackle their continued and detrimental impact on nature and society as well as ignoring sky-rocketing fossil fuel subsidies”, added Stephan Singer, Director of Global Energy Policy at WWF. “Instead of looking at the bigger picture and creating more sustainable jobs in the context of the European financial crisis the Commission is focusing on a minor issue. Destroying new clean commercial activities and engaging in a trade war with China on clean energy technology is the last thing we need right now."

The European Commission’s decision is due to be announced on 6 June, or even earlier according to rumours.

Note to the editors:

[1] WWF and Nature & Environment’s position paper to the European Commission on import tariffs on solar panel imports from China:
http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/ngo_positionpaper_solarpvchina_final.pdf

[2] Source: Alliance For Affordable Solar Energy, AFASE, February 2013: http://afase.org/sites/default/files/docs/media/afase_press_release_prognos_study_launch_changes_190213.pdf

[3] International Monetary Fund study: “Energy subsidy reform: Lessons and implications”:
http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2013/012813.pdf


Further information:

Policy contacts

Dr Stephan Singer
Director of Global Energy Policy
WWF
ssinger@wwf.eu
Phone:+32 2 743 88 17
Mobile:+32 4 96 550 709

Ron Wit
Director Energy team
Natuur & Milieu Netherlands
R.wit@natuurenmilieu.nl
Phone : +31 6 1740 0518 or +31 6 14487427

Press contacts

Audrey Gueudet
Communication and Media Officer
WWF European Policy Office
agueudet@wwf.eu
Phone: +32 2 743 88 06 |
Mobile: + 32 4 94 03 20 27

Anita Direcks
Press Officer Energy policy team
Nature & Environment (Natuur & Milieu)
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 6 14487427
The PS20 solar thermal tower, the only such working solar tower currently in the world. Its is part of the Solucar solar complex owned by Abengoa energy, in Sanlucar La Mayor, Andalucia, spain. The site has solar tower, parabolic trough and photovoltaic solar technology on the complex, generating 183 MW in total, enough to power 94,000 households and eliminating 114,000 tons of C02 emissions annually.
The PS20 solar thermal tower, the only such working solar tower currently in the world. Its is part of the Solucar solar complex owned by Abengoa energy, in Sanlucar La Mayor, Andalucia, spain. The site has solar tower, parabolic trough and photovoltaic solar technology on the complex, generating 183 MW in total, enough to power 94,000 households and eliminating 114,000 tons of C02 emissions annually.
© Global Warming Images / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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