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Policy, Press2006

Incoming Finnish EU Presidency not in a hurry about renewables

31.05.2006

In the energy field, the Finnish EU Presidency will focus on the European internal market for electricity, but will not push for new targets for the development of renewable energy.

In an interview one month before the official start of the Finnish Presidency, the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) magazine Wind Directions asked Riku Huttunen, Deputy Director General for Energy at the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry, to sum up the Presidency’s priorities on energy issues.

“One of our main objectives is to reach the effective implementation of a European internal market for electricity”, Riku Huttunen told Wind Directions.

“In the renewable energy field, we are not in a hurry. Before setting targets we need a strong and deep analysis of what the possibilities are. I also think that the challenges included in the Renewables Directive (22% of electricity supply by 2010) are already hard enough for Europe”, he said.

This first and very ambitious goal has of course the full support of EWEA. Effective competition in the conventional power market is a precondition for creating a level playing-field and should lead to a single, undistorted market for Europe. “A common approach is needed if we are to turn the energy and climate burden into a growth and job opportunity for European companies and citizens,” said EWEA CEO Christian Kjaer.

“We are in a hurry. If we want to be in control of our own energy future, Europe needs to dramatically shift direction and start developing, on a large scale, the indigenous, clean renewable energy resources that are available at our doorstep. A good place to start is ambitious 2020 targets on renewables as proposed by the European Parliament”, commented Christian Kjaer.

Long-term mandatory targets are important for the European wind energy sector because they would provide a strong signal of commitment to investors and encourage them to commit risk capital while enabling a stable technology development and cost reductions. It is also essential for maintaining European leadership in wind energy and other renewables. During the Spring Summit, the leaders of Europe put a medium-term target of 15% renewables by 2015 on the table. It is a cautious step in the right direction, but still far from the ambition level of the European Parliament.

In a resolution from 2005 the European parliament reiterated its position on renewable energy targets for Europe, stressing the importance of setting mandatory targets for 2020. EWEA is therefore calling for a strong political will among European governments to follow the Parliament and give a clear vision to the sector.

On 1 July, Finland will take over from the Austrian presidency and lead the European Council of Ministers until December 2006. During its 6 months presidency, Finland also wants to strengthen external relations policy in terms of the energy issue, and will follow the issue of Russian energy supplies very closely.

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