Monday, December 18, 2006

European Parliament votes in favour of renewable energy

On Thursday the European Parliament voted in favour of a considerable switch to renewable energy (50% by 2040), and an improvement of energy conservation in the European Union (EU) by 2050. Particularly significant was that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of binding, sector-specific renewables targets to be included in a "road map" for renewable energy that is about to be launched in January by the European Commission.

Press reports on the proposed new policy said the EU Commission draft only included a general primary energy target, and did not set sector-specific targets for the growth of renewables in the heating, electricity and cooling sector. Renewable energy experts considered this to be very problematic and that - if approved - it would undermine the current growth of renewable electricity and heat technologies in the EU.

The Parliament also suggested EU leaders should agree by the end of next year on a binding EU CO2 reduction target for 2020 of minus 30% and an indicative minus 60-80% goal for 2050. They also recommended a "comprehensive strategy" for transport, aiming to phase out fossil fuels from the sector. They rejected an amendment that would have potentially incorporated nuclear electricity into EU targets for renewables.

The renewable energy industry was pleased, but remained worried about the proposals that will be made by the EU Commission in January.