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European coal-fired power plants could get export help

World Coal,

The latest policy paper from the EU Commission trade department suggests that export credits, or preferential loans, should be continued to help cover export costs for the most modern coal-fired power plant technology.

“It has to be recognised that at a global level, coal as an important source of energy production is not going to disappear immediately,” says the paper prepared by officials from the European Commission trade department and circulated among representatives of EU member states.

“The EU delegation would consider it logical to try to see how the OECD export credit community can create incentives to ensure that this continued use of coal as an energy source is at least done in the most climate-friendly way possible,” it said, referring to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Despite opposition from some environmental groups, the continued funding of equipment for coal-fired power plants would not fly in the face of attempts to lower carbon emissions. This is because the funding would likely be for modern equipment designed in line with the latest clean coal technology.

Further, Alstom of France, one of the EU makers of equipment for coal-fired power plants, said there was no contradiction with EU environmental ambitions.

Giles Dickson, head of environmental policies and global advocacy for Alstom in Paris, said countries with no limits on coal plant financing would move in to replace those who cannot provide export credits. "They will fill the gap with technologies that may not necessarily be as efficient or as clean as other technologies," he said. "The consequence could well be that the emissions go up, not down."

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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