An encouraging EU debate on renewable energy  

By Annette Schneider, 17. September 2008

A massive majority in the European Parliament’s energy committee, ITRE, has recently spoken in favour of the committee’s response to the coming EU Directive on renewable energy.

The committee’s response to the Directive includes the following proposals:

- that the overall target for share of renewables must be 20 per cent in 2020 (as proposed by the Commission)

- that the proportion of renewables in the transport sector must be 5 per cent in 2015 and 10 per cent in 2020, and of this 20 and 40 per cent respectively must be “smart technology”, say, for instance, electric cars or second generation biofuels (the 2020 targets of 10 per cent and 40 per cent proportion to be reviewed in 2014).

- a facility for private persons to trade in renewable energy certificates – but only if the countries explicitly permit this (an opt-in model for use of transfer accounting certificates, with a lifetime of 2 years)

- that so-called “green energy” certificates can only be marketed as such if they secure additional renewables - in other words ensure that renewables are produced in addition to the national targets set by the EU.

- tighter rules for counting imported renewables from third countries in the national renewable energy targets

- establishing a penalty mechanism allowing the Commission to fine countries which do not meet their targets

- securing prioritised access for renewables to the electricity grid

- the percentage of green house gas displacement compared to transport fuel produced from biomass must be 45 per cent from the date the Directive comes into force and 60 per cent from 2015 if it is to count in national targets.

The Committee Chair, Claude Turmes, is now expected to start negotiations with the Council, after which the whole Parliament will vote on the outcome in December.

The Danish Energy Association supported the Commission’s original proposal to establish a system of cross-border trading in renewable energy certificates. However as the Council of Ministers is in the process of dropping this aspect of the proposal, we are pleased that Parliament by its vote today is sending a clear signal that it wishes to retain the option of establishing such a trading system - even in an amputated form compared to the Commission’s original plan. The Danish Energy Association hopes that Parliament can thus help nudge member states in a more trade-oriented and thus more cost-effective direction.

Welcome too is Parliament’s proposal for better enforcement of the member states’ actual performance of their obligations under the Directive. This applies both to the proposal that the Commission can reject national renewable energy plans as inadequate, and the proposal for an actual fines system. This is the only way to ensure that all EU countries do their part in achieving the common goal.


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