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BB200703, News in Brief

Energy Council on Energy Package

06.03.2007

On February, 2007, EU energy ministers met to provide their input on the Commission's Energy Package, prior to the EU Spring Summit in March.

On the main issue related to renewables, the Council endorsed the target of 20%, but did not reach agreement as to whether the target should be binding or indicative. This task is left for the Heads of State to decide in March.

The Energy Council acknowledges that "a substantive development of energy efficiency and of renewable energies will enhance energy security, curb the projected rise in energy prices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions". It also stresses the "paramount importance of giving a clear signal to industry, investors, innovators and researchers". Regarding sector-specific targets, which have always been defended by EWEA and the other RES associations as fundamental to the development of renewables. However, the conclusions are still somewhat vague. They state that "community legislation could contain provisions as regards National Action Plans containing sectoral targets and measures to meet them.”

Unfortunately, all references to ownership unbundling of transmission and production were removed from the text in the final conclusions (although they were included in numerous draft versions). Germany and France, in particular, have been fighting against full ownership unbundling.

The conclusions make a highly welcome reference to the need for interconnection and stress that this must "take into account on- and offshore renewable energies." The Council also supported the Commission's suggestion of appointing a European coordinator for the connections to offshore wind in Northern Europe. EWEA welcomes this, but is believes that the scope of the coordinator’s role should not be limited to Northern Europe.

Finally, the conclusions welcome the Commission's proposal to table a European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and recognise the need to strengthen energy research, in order to accelerate the competitiveness of renewables. They also emphasise the need to develop a single voice and intensify dialogue with the USA, China and India, focusing on the reduction of green-house gases, energy efficiency and renewables, as well as low-emission energy technologies, notably carbon capture and storage (CCS).

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