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Europe's factories get a carbon permit windfall

London

EUROPEAN factories are poised to pocket a windfall of about US$2.5 billion a year as utilities rush to buy emissions permits from manufacturers who get them free.

Power producers from RWE AG to Vattenfall, Europe's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, will have to purchase about 200 million permits a year from plants through 2016, or about four times 2013 levels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. The European Union in March cut the number of permits being sold in the world's largest market to curb a record glut.

The EU is temporarily withholding permits to encourage utilities to switch from fossil fuels, and the higher costs may be fed through to consumers, according to Eneco...

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