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You will pay Zuckerberg’s electricity bill
Yesterday, the Danish government decided to remove the PSO fee, which means Facebook and Apple will save 384 million annually on their datacentres’ electricity consumption[i].
According to Energinet.dk the Facebook and Apple datacentres will consume what corresponds to 10% of Denmark’s entire energy consumption and they wish the consumption comes from 100 renewable energy[ii]. With the removal of the PSO-fee the American companies will neither contribute to the investment in green energy nor pay the actual production cost of the green energy they consume[iii]. The cost is pushed to the normal consumer.
PSO stands for Public Service Obligation. It is a fee that all public and private energy consumers pay on the electricity bill to support investments in renewable energy. By removing the fee, the needed support will instead be transferred to the national budget, which means the bill lands with the regular Danish taxpayers. PSO was implemented in 1998 as a subsidy to eco-friendly power production, such as windmills, that can not compete on pure market conditions. The fee is regulated according to the market price on energy and ensures a steady price for producers of green energy[iv].
With the abolition of the PSO the electricity bill will also appear smaller for the Danish citizens, in reality it will not be, because they will pay the difference and more through their taxes. Peter Birk Sørensen, Director at Klimarådet and economic professor, states: “Previously, the subsidy to renewable energy was paid on the electricity bill through the PSO, but now it will be paid by the normal taxpayer”.
When financing of green energy subsidies are moved to the national budget it means that the terms are renegotiated every year[v]. Green organisations critique that this creates an insecurity in regards to financing[vi] and the green political parties such as Enhedslisten and Alternativet fear that the green transition will be slowed down.
The government has a goal of 50 % renewable energy in the Danish energy system by 2030. This goal is not nearly sufficient with the increased energy consumption from the datacentres and their demand for 100 % renewable energy, which would result in other consumers primarily getting their energy from fossil fuels.[vii]
Information on PSO are gained from Energinet.dk. For further information, please contact xxxx at +45 xxxxxxx or firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Radio24syv (2017): “Apple og Facebook sparer 384 millioner kroner på afskaffet PSO-afgift”, http://www.radio24syv.dk/programmer/24syv-morgen/15801991/39:39/for-meget-sniksnak-i-folketingssalen-ny/
[ii] Radio24syv (2017): “Apple og Facebook sparer 384 millioner kroner på afskaffet PSO-afgift”, http://www.radio24syv.dk/programmer/24syv-morgen/15801991/39:39/for-meget-sniksnak-i-folketingssalen-ny/
[iii] Stated by Director at Klimarådet and economic professor Peter Birk Sørensen in http://www.radio24syv.dk/programmer/24syv-morgen/15801991/39:39/for-meget-sniksnak-i-folketingssalen-ny/
[iv] Energinet (2016): “Spørgsmål og svar om PSO-tariffen”, Accessed 14/03 2017 http://www.energinet.dk/DA/El/Engrosmarked/Tariffer-og-priser/PSO-tariffen/Sider/Spoergsmaal-og-svar-om-PSO-tariffen.aspx
[v] Svaneborg, Rasmus (2017): “Nye datacentre vil stå for en tredjedel af øget elforbrug i fremtiden – og det kan komme til at koste klimaet og skatteyderne dyrt”, Information, Accessed 16/03 2017, https://www.information.dk/indland/2017/01/nye-datacentre-staa-tredjedel-oeget-elforbrug-fremtiden-kan-komme-koste-klimaet-skatteyderne-dyrt
[vi] Holst, Emma (2016): “Forstå slagsmålet om PSO-afgiften”, Altinget, Accessed 16/03 2017, http://www.altinget.dk/artikel/forstaa-slagsmaalet-om-pso-afgiften
[vii] Godske, Bjørn (2017): ” Nyt Facebook datacenter i Odense giver mere sort strøm”, Ingeniøren 19. January 2017, accessed 14/03 2017, https://ing.dk/artikel/nyt-facebook-datacenter-odense-giver-mere-sort-stroem-192359