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E.ON confirms plans for power plant construction

Germany's E.ON group maintains its plans for the construction of new power generation plants despite the global financial crisis, Chief Executive Officer Wulf Bernotat said.

“Despite the more difficult financing environment, we stand by our €63 billion ($81.26 billion) investment program for 2007-2010,” Bernotat was quoted as saying at a Berlin industry conference.

The plans entail 20 new plants in Europe, of which five will be located in Germany, creating 15,000 jobs in Germany and 30,000 across Europe, he said in a statement.

Bernotat said while the economic significance of each of the projects would be scrutinized in the light of the current global financial crisis, it was E.ON's goal to pursue the plans to help stabilize the economy.

He also said that climate protection policies should not be sacrificed because of the financial crisis.

“Whether Germany remains competitive 10 or 20 years from now will depend to a large degree on whether it has an affordable, reliable, and climate-friendly supply of energy,” he said. 

E.ON, which has long-term plans to invest €6 billion in renewable energies, demands a harmonization of European subsidy programs for the sector, to spur more growth, he said.

He also said that E.ON supported German government targets to raise the share of combined heat and power stations, which capture and redistribute the heat from the fuel burning process.

But he stressed the country could not go without fossil fuels-based generation plants, namely coal-fired ones, without risking power supply gaps in the future.

He also said that rules for Europe-wide trading of carbon dioxide emissions trading rights after 2012 should be “lean” and “uniform.”

Policymakers are considering plans for the full, or gradual, auctioning of such permits after 2012, which will determine the availability and hence prices of certificates for polluters.

Bernotat said companies faced with a sudden auction system without a transition period might abandon their plans to build new production units. (Reuters)