ArcelorMittal-Backed Lobby Warns Against French Green-Energy Tax

A French industry lobby with members including ArcelorMittal, Arkema SA and Total SA said a plan by lawmakers to force energy-intensive producers to pay more tax to fund development of renewable power will hurt competitiveness.

“The measure will worsen the unpredictability of energy policy and fiscal instability,” Uniden said in a statement. Some struggling plants would pay 22 percent more tax, it said.

Lawmakers adopted an amendment Dec. 6 to raise the maximum contribution large power consumers pay for the so-called CSPE tax that subsidizes renewable energy. Uniden’s intervention is the latest in a Europe-wide trend of electricity producers such as GDF Suez SA complaining green-energy subsidies are too high.

Under French politicians’ plans, the maximum payment for an industrial site consuming large amounts of power would rise to 695,829 euros next year from 569,418 euros in 2013. Renewable tax exemptions for industry apply to almost a fifth of the power France uses, a copy of the amendment on the National Assembly’s website shows. The Senate still needs to vote on the measure.

In the future, the maximum contribution would vary with the tax rate rather than inflation. This implies a 22 percent jump in 2014 should the rate rise to 16.50 euros a megawatt hour, as slated, from 13.50 euros. In contrast the increase would be 1.3 percent under the peg to inflation, according to the amendment.

The CSPE, designed to pay for renewable and other energy subsidies, is also levied on consumer bills. French industries through Uniden have said they need exemptions to compete with German plants that mostly don’t pay for renewables development.