EU’s Ministers for the Environment loosen the demands on power plants and large-scale industry  

By Troels Werner Christensen, 2. July 2009

EU’s Ministers for the Environment have decided to loosen the coming requirements for emissions from both new and older power stations and large-scale industry. This was the result of the meeting held by the Environment Council yesterday.

The member states have disagreed for a long time on the requirements for the emission of particles and pollution from power plants. On one side are e.g. Poland, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, who wish for further flexibility with regard to the Commission’s proposal for stricter emission requirements. On the other side are e.g. Denmark, Sweden and Germany, who do not wish to see the environmental aspects of the Commission’s proposal further weakened.

The compromise reached yesterday means that existing plants must implement the new, stricter requirements in 2012 and that existing plants shall implement the requirements in 2021. However, existing plants that are in operation for a maximum of 20,000 hours during an 8-year period from 2016 to the end of 2024 are exempted.

- This clearly impairs the Commission’s proposal, says Senior Consultant Annette Schneider of the Danish Energy Association.

- We have previously called on the Danish Minister for the Environment, Troels Lund Poulsen, to stand firm during the end game.

- Our position is that the Commission’s proposal for existing plants is the correct one. Further delays are not acceptable and 2020 represents the worst possible compromise.

- It is unfortunate that it was not possible to stand up to the pressure from the new EU countries in particular for further flexibility and dilution of the directive, says Annette Schneider.

- However, a positive element is that despite this, there has been a tightening of emission requirements for air pollution from large fuel plants and thereby an improvement of the air quality throughout the whole EU.

- But it is not good that the price for this is apparently an acceptance of continuing distortion of competition in the EU.



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