News in Brief, BB200702
German Presidency Backs Renewables
With its government’s well known support for renewable energy, the start of the German Presidency of the European Union this month (January) should bode well for the wind energy sector. It comes at a critical time for EU energy policy, with the European Council of Ministers about to discuss – and hopefully approve - the measures proposed by the European Commission in its Strategic Energy Review, including the Renewable Energy Road Map with targets up to 2020 (see separate story).
According to its published programme, Germany will attempt to secure agreement from EU heads of government to a package of climate and energy measures at the Spring Council meeting on 8-9 March. The aim is to produce an “ambitious” EU energy plan, with clear medium and long term targets for renewable energy. The Presidency also aims to “obtain a complete opening of the electricity and natural gas markets on the basis of the blanket application of the European legal provisions in all EU Member States”. In the field of the environment and climate protection, the Presidency will drive the extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 and also attempt to integrate air transport into emissions reduction schemes.
Another innovation is the publication of an 18 month programme for the three successive German, Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies running up to June 2008. The purpose is to to increase continuity in the Council’s work.
Important events affecting energy policy during the German Presidency include: 29-31 January: European Renewable Energy Policy Conference in Brussels (www.erec.org). 15 February: Energy Council meeting at which EU Energy Ministers will debate European energy policy, including the Renewable Energy Road Map, and discuss its contribution to the Spring Council.
20 February: Environment Council will discuss its contribution to the Spring European Council. Also on the table will be a directive to include aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme, appropriate measures to adapt pesticides to climate change challenges and a review of EU strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars.
22 February: EU Policy Workshop on Offshore Wind Power Deployment in Berlin will discuss the challenges and opportunities that member states face in developing offshore wind power.
8-9 March: Spring Energy Council has to agree a final text to reply to the Commission’s Strategic Energy Review, and will launch an Energy Action Plan.
May: 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Germany will push for the introduction of renewable and rational use of energy policies in co-operation with newly industrialised and developing countries.
8 June: Energy Council will discuss report on progress in renewable electricity, a possible new proposal for a directive on heating and cooling from renewables and a possible amending directive on the promotion of biofuels.
29 June: Environment Council will consider review of the EU emissions trading scheme after 2012.
For more information: www.eu2007.de/info/en