The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Utilities Global Survey 2005, which polled 108 utilities and 26 utility investor companies in 36 countries, has found that 66% of the European respondents expect a revival in the nuclear industry, compared with 52% by utilities worldwide.

Slightly more than 20% of the Europeans believe that nuclear plants will have to be replaced in the next five years, but only around15% of worldwide utilities feel this will be a major issue in the short-term, a drop from 27% last year. However, some European players suggest that political motives are taking nuclear out of the equation and while utilities’ outlook for nuclear power is improving, regulatory uncertainty and price volatility concerns continue to curb investment.

The market share for renewables in Europe is expected to double to 26% by 2030 despite what are seen as associated economic and regulatory issues that see renewables priced above clearing rates and therefore dependent on government support. Almost 90% of the respondents believe the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme “will establish itself fully, either with no problems or with early problems being fully resolved.”

Meanwhile the fuel mix over the next decade is expected to see a modest shift towards gas at the expense of coal with utility executives believing the only major shift in their fuel mix in the next 10 years will be a 5% switch away from coal towards gas.

Investors appeared least worried about nuclear decommissioning when asked to rate seven issues facing the energy sector in the next five years, instead concerns focus on meeting projected supply needs and encouraging renewables. About 39% of potential investors are concerned over inconsistent regulation, energy, tax and environmental policies in various countries, despite promise of market reforms, the report adds.

The report is at