"EU Energy Strategy could undermine existing successful legislation"
The European Commission has missed a great opportunity to back up its very strong rhetoric on renewables with a specific sectoral target for electricity, to prevent the undermining of existing successful legislation.
“The Commission has described a great destination but is at the same time risking demolishing the existing well-functioning vehicles to get there, while failing to suggest an alternative route. I wouldn’t call it a ‘Renewable Roadmap to Nowhere’ – rather, it is a ‘Missing Roadmap to Somewhere’. We risk ending up with a European renewable house on a foundation of sand,” commented Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA.
In 2001, the European Union took the global lead by passing the world’s most significant piece of legislation for renewable electricity, the RES-E Directive containing its 21% target by 2010. As a consequence, 25 Member States and several countries outside Europe, are adopting frameworks for investments in wind power and other renewable electricity sources. European companies are global leaders in wind power and Europe is reaping commercial benefits from exports, environmental benefits, while creating employment and fostering innovation.
EWEA considers sectoral targets – absent from the new EU strategy - a fundamental prerequisite for an effective strategy to boost the share of renewable energy. They are needed to account for the different nature of the various technologies, as well as their divergent requirements in terms of infrastructure and monitoring.
The wind energy sector would have preferred a strengthening of existing, successful, legislation, and is concerned that a new legislative package could take years to adopt at a crucial time in the development of large scale wind power.
“The Commission trusts the Member States to endorse its binding target of 20% renewables by 2020. Hopefully it is able to convince the Council, in cooperation with the European Parliament. But if the Council rejects the Commission’s strong appeal, the Energy Strategy provides no fallback and little would have been achieved,” Christian Kjaer said.
The European Wind Energy Association believes that the Commission will propose safeguard measures to ensure continued legal stability for renewable electricity in Europe in its announced renewables legislative package.
If legal stability in renewable electricity can be assured, the Energy Strategy does have the potential to be a leap forward for wind power. In particular, EWEA highly welcomes the Commission’s firm recommendation on full ownership unbundling of transmission and production of electricity and gas.
On another grid related issue, the wind energy industry welcomes the proposal to appoint European coordinators for vital infrastructure projects of European interest, including “the connection of offshore wind power in Northern Europe” and the Commission’s strong call for the need to “roll-out offshore wind energy” and recognition of the need for paving the way towards a European offshore grid.
For a detailed analysis of the energy strategy, the renewable industry is organising a press briefing tomorrow at 10.30 in the Renewable Energy House (Rue d’Arlon 63). You will get the chance to speak to the President, CEO and directors from EWEA but also from the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF).
Please confirmed your participation: [email protected]