The nuclear sector assures that it has a fixed asset pending amortization of more than 5,500 million euros and that the measure promoted by the Government to reduce the remuneration for this energy “increases the financial asphyxia of the nuclear park and leads it to the cessation of activity” .
Nuclear Forum, the employer’s association of this industry, defends that the plants invest 300 million euros a year and that the plants are currently in losses as a result of “a disproportionate, discriminatory and confiscatory taxation.”
The Executive plans to put a stop to the overpayment that power generation receives in the wholesale market through non-CO2-emitting power plants (hydraulic and nuclear) prior to 2005. Specifically, it wants to offset the impact it is having on the cost of electricity the rise in CO2 prices and tackling the possible consequences that this could have on the recovery of the domestic and industrial economies, with reductions in the electricity bill of around 4.8% for domestic consumers and 1.5% for big industry.
It also stresses that the audited balance sheets and income statements of the companies that own the power plants, “known to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge”, include a fixed asset pending amortization of more than 5,500 million euros, with more than 3,000 million euros invested in the last ten years alone.
Thus, Foro Nuclear shows its perplexity at the statements that the plants are amortized and that they enjoy what are known as benefits that have fallen from the sky (windfall profits, in English).
On the other hand, the association affirms that last year the nuclear companies had a negative cash flow of around 500 million euros and losses of more than 1,000 million euros, as a result of low electricity prices. In addition, it estimates that investments of around 3,000 million euros will be necessary to maintain the units in optimal conditions of safety and reliability until their closure.
The president of Foro Nuclear, Ignacio Araluce has warned that the sector suffers from “confiscatory fees”. “The tax rates are particularly high, we have even called them confiscatory. In some months of 2020, taxes and fees even exceeded the income we had, ”he argued in a virtual meeting with journalists.
It thus estimates that with the Government’s draft bill, the negative cash flow would have increased significantly, as the price of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rights had been an average of 25 euros per ton.
Likewise, it says that, since 2005, taken as a reference in the draft law, and until 2021, the taxes that support nuclear generation facilities have increased by about 20 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), representing 60 % of your revenue in 2020.
For this reason, the employers emphasize that the nuclear companies have been requesting “repeatedly a review of the very high taxation” they support, and they demand an “adjusted but reasonable remuneration that makes viable a technology that is essential for the decarbonization of electricity generation, contemplated in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) “2021-2030.
Foro Nuclear values the contribution of nuclear power, with more than a fifth of the electrical energy consumed in Spain, ensuring that it provides great stability to the electrical system and that it is the one that contributes the most to decarbonization.
Judgment that this future market context leads him to “technical bankruptcy”, with an accumulated cash destruction of 2,400 million euros in the next ten years that will not allow him to recover future investments worth 3,000 million euros.
The measures implemented by the Government to lower the electricity bill will make the energy companies face the payment of about 8,000 million euros. The plan to reduce windfall profits of nuclear and hydraulic power will mean a cut of 1,000 million euros in the remuneration that companies receive, which will also have to bear the costs associated with the specific remuneration scheme for renewables, cogeneration and waste (Recore), of between 6,500 and 7,000 million.
The fourth vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, opines the employer and does not fear an accelerated closure of the nuclear park before 2035 by companies. He argues that there are now prices of 50 euros per ton of CO2 and more than 80 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) in electricity, even better than when the agreement was reached [20 euros por tonelada de CO2 y de 50 euros por MWh] and that guarantee the “profitability” of these farms in complete safety.