Energy prices are a crucial factor for industry and business. They have a great impact on both competitiveness and productivity. At European level energy prices, in particular for gas and electricity, are monitored by Eurostat. Their data reveal a number of interesting aspects about the energy market in Europe. In the figure below we have selected some countries showing significantly different price levels for electricity for industrial consumers.
Italy is a good example for electricity prices well above the EU average which in 2010 was 0.105 EUR/kWh. For the Italian industry electricity is therefore about 35% more expensive than for the average industrial consumer in Europe. Finland, on the other hand, is one of the cheaper places of the continent with its price level being almost 35% below average.
France is also among those countries with relatively low electricity prices for the industry. Its electricity bill is significantly lower than the one for German (0.115 EUR/kWh in 2010) or UK (0.995 EUR/kWh in 2010) consumers.
The introduction of a carbon tax would affect those countries in very different ways. Especially Germany and UK might feel its consequences, since their energy mix contains a large proportion of coal-fired power plants. France, on the other hand, with its very strong nuclear sector would be affected to a much lower degree.