MEPs call for national renewable energy goals

EU Parliament adopts resolution on renewables white paper, votes down grid access proposal

MEPs have called on all EU member states to set binding national targets to increase the market share of each type of renewable energy. The European Commission should review national strategies by the end of the year, the European Parliament voted last week, and if necessary, initiate action to ensure that countries achieve a minimum national increase of 7% in market share by 2010.

The two demands top a parliamentary resolution on the European Commission's white paper on renewable energy, which proposed an EU target to double renewable energy market share by 2010.

MEPs express concern that despite the fact that EU energy ministers have welcomed the Commission's proposed policy, there have been few signs of practical actions to prevent renewable energy sources losing market share in the face of increased competition between suppliers due to market liberalisation.

"It cannot...be expected that in the foreseeable future technical progress alone will be sufficient to establish the competitiveness of renewable energy sources on the energy markets," MEPs conclude. EU policies on internalisation of external environmental costs for different energy sources, price support for electricity fed into grids from renewable energy sources and harmonised technical standards will be "crucial" to boosting their development.

In particular, MEPs call on the Commission to submit by next summer a new proposal for an "energy-related taxation model," which internalises external costs for non-renewable energy sources.

Meanwhile, the Parliament voted down an "own initiative" legislative proposal by German Socialist MEP Rolf Linkohr which aimed to make it much easier for renewable energy producers, including small firms, to gain access to electricity grids (ENDS Daily 28 April). The proposal was defeated by MEPs from the centre-right EPP and Liberal parties. Instead, the Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the Commission to come forward with its own proposal, which it is already scheduled to do by the end of the year.

On another dossier under discussion in Strasbourg, MEPs voted to call on the Commission to make companies or establishments using genetic engineering technologies to be liable under civil law for any accidental releases and, therefore, to be made to take out insurance to cover such liability. They want such provisions introduced during the revision of a 1990 law on contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms.

While the call is bound to be rejected by the Commission and member states, it will keep the issue of environmental liability alive, a Parliamentary source said. MEPs are almost certain to call for liability provisions under another law on deliberate release of genetically modified organisms, which is also being revised.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111.

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