The CER has announced an increase of the PSO levy (currently near zero) to a total of €157 mln a year. This is a levy on a connection, €33/yr for households and €99/yr for small businesses. Large companies pay a levy that depends on the capacity of their connection: €14/kVA/yr. The method of payment and the distribution of costs makes perfect sense if the PSO levy would be for security of supply (in the sense of avoiding black-outs), but that is only €14 of the €157 mln.
These are small amounts, but the costs are unnecessary. About €72 mln will be a subsidy for peat, and about €43 mln will be a subsidy for wind. That is, we subsidise carbon dioxide emissions and subsidise the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions at the same time!
Tuohy et al reckon that 0.9 mln tonnes of carbon dioxide can be avoided if we do away with the peat subsidies, and save €70 mln. On average, that is €78/tCO2, but their estimate of the marginal cost is €19,500/tCO2! Today’s spot price for emission permits is €14/tCO2.
I am not aware of a detailed study of the implications of the REFIT scheme on emissions and costs. REFIT is part subsidy and part price guarantee, so back of the envelop calculations are more likely to confuse than to illuminate. Suffice to say that REFIT subsidises carbon dioxide emission reduction.
The prime instrument for emission reduction is, of course, the EU ETS. I would think that that is enough. I do not understand why we would also subsidise emissions and emission reduction — and we would save €115 mln while simplifying regulations.
Some say that we need REFIT to meet the renewables obligation, but the EU will likely scrap that as some of the big Member States cannot meet theirs. Besides, it has yet to be established that REFIT is an effective and cost-effective way to meet the renewables obligation. Both renewables and peat are said to help with security of supply (in the sense of import dependence), but that is just another word for import substitution, and the available analysis has not gone much beyond hand-waving.
So, for now, I would think we would be better off without (most of) the PSO levy.