Green groups welcome EU renewables target

Commission's 12% target will give a "big boost" to Kyoto climate summit says Greenpeace

Environmental groups and sustainable energy associations have warmly welcomed the European Commission's white paper on renewables which was adopted by Commissioners yesterday. Greenpeace said that that the blueprint was a challenge to the fossil fuel industry and would give a "big boost" to the Kyoto climate summit which begins next week. A newly-formed coalition of sustainable energy industry associations yesterday supported the Commission's goal of doubling the market share of renewables in the EU by 2010.

As we reported on Friday (ENDS Daily 21 November), the Commission's white paper aims to increase the share of renewables in the EU energy market from 6% to 12% by 2010. EU energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis said yesterday that the target was meant to send a "clear message" to the outside world that the EU was "determined to follow an ambitious and realistic policy to promote the use of energy sources which enhance our security of supplies, contribute to the creation of jobs and help us protect the environment". Mr Papoutsis' spokesperson told reporters that the cost of meeting the Commission's target was estimated at Ecu95bn, but that only a "small proportion" of funds would come from the public purse.

Aphrodite Mourelatou of Greenpeace told ENDS Daily that the group was pleased with the "clear signal" the paper gave to the fossil fuel industry that "the EU will promote renewables". Ms Mourelatou also welcomed the timing of the white paper, launched on the eve of next week's climate change conference in Kyoto. "This paper boosts the credibility of the EU's negotiating position by explaining how the EU will meet its target" she said. The Commission estimates that doubling renewables will deliver about a third of the carbon dioxide reduction necessary to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gases by 15% by 2010.

European industry associations representing energy efficiency and renewables companies have also welcomed the white paper. Christophe Bourillon of the European Wind Energy Association said that he was "very pleased" the Commission had stuck to its 12% target, but added that the EU "desperately needs a mechanism to achieve [it]". John Bonda of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association said that although the industry had "extremely good support from the European Parliament and Commission," it was up to the Council of Ministers to follow-up the recommendations.

Yesterday, ten of the largest associations in the field - including Cogen Europe and the European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future - promised to work more closely on a number of policy issues in which they have common interests. Aside from more funding for renewables, the groups have agreed to push for energy taxes and the speedy opening up of energy markets. On climate change the "clean" energy groups believe the EU should commit itself to a 15% cut in greenhouse gases by 2010 "whatever the outcome of Kyoto".

Follow Up:
Greenpeace, tel: + 32 2 280 1400; Cogen Europe, tel: + 32 2 772 8290.

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