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close this bookSustainable Energy News - No. 18 - September 1998 (INFORSE, 1997, 20 p.)
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View the documentINFORSE - Europe meeting, new action plan
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European news

European Energy Conservation Strategy

The European Energy Conservation Strategy is now being developed, based on decisions of the Environmental Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. The Strategy shall be ready for the Pan-European Environmental Ministers' meeting, June '98 (hus '98), and will include:

· presentation of "best practices" in energy conservation in CEE;

· energy-efficiency indicators and country reports on the state of energy conservation in all European countries;

· guidelines for national strategies of energy conservation, as well as for international cooperation in the field.

The Strategy is being developed by a Task Force drawn from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the European Energy Charter Secretariat, and the Danish Energy Agency; a Working Group of countries (Russia, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland); and a group of country experts (all countries). The groups will meet according to the following schedule:

· Oct. 30: Working Group Meeting
· Nov. 18-19: Meeting of country experts
· Feb., 19: Working Group Meeting
· March 2-3: Final Meeting of country experts

The meetings are open to NGOs. INFORSE - Europe and the NGO Coalition "Environment for Europe" will coordinate NGO inputs. The NGO Coalition has established an open NGO Working Group to follow the Strategy and other energy-issues for hus '98. NGOs are welcome to join the Working Group. At the European Sustainable Energy Seminar, June 22-26 a statement of NGO visions was submitted to the Task Force.

Information: INFORSE - Europe

Huge Wind Potential on Kola

The largest potential for windturbines in Europe is probably on the Northern coast of the Kola Peninsula. This is the conclusion of a study made by the Kola Ecological Center and the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation. Based on the high average wind-speed of 8-9 m/s (10 m above ground), and other favorable conditions, the study estimates that wind electricity can be produced at prices of about 115 Rubles/kWh (2.0 US-cent/ kWh), and that a wind park could be an economically viable replacement of the Kola nuclear power plant.

More information:

Kola Ecological Center, Box 68, Apatity, 184200, Murmansk Region, Russia,

Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation, att. Dag Hd, e-mail:

See publication list on page no.18

Sustainable Energy Successes in Central and Eastern Europe

In parallel to the development of the official list of "best practices" in energy conservation, INFORSE-Europe is developing a database of sustainable energy examples in Central and Eastern Europe. From this we will draw a list of successes or "good practices" that will be presented in parallel with the official list. Examples are already under preparation for Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Russia. If you are aware of good examples that you would like to have included, please contact INFORSE-Europe. (see p. 12)

Solar Energy to Crete

The Campaign for a fossil-fuel free Crete got a major victory in June when it was decided to construct a 50 MW PV-plant, which will be the largest PV-plant in the world. The size of the plant allows the lowest price so far for PV-installations, only 2.4 US$/Wp (Watt peak) or about 25% of the normal costs for PV installations today. The price of electricity from the PV-station is 8.5 US cents/kWh, or 4% higher than the average price of electricity from fossil-fuel stations on Crete, without calculating environmental costs. The campaign is sponsored by Greenpeace, while the PV-plant is supported by EU and the Greek government.


Source: Greenpeace.

EU Strengthens Climate Policy

Besides the previously agreed-upon goal of 15% reduction by 2010 of major greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, N2O), the EU Environmental Ministers agreed upon a goal of 7.5% reduction by 2005 of emissions of these gases at their meeting, June 19-20 (goals for EU, under the assumption that common reduction goals for industrialized countries are set at the Climate Negotiations). The ministers agreed upon a list of common measures that could contribute to reaching the goals. These measures include: energy efficiency Standards, reduction of subsidies for fossil fuels, and reduction of tax schemes as well as regulations that counteract energy efficiency. Before the meeting of the ministers, the EU Parliament had proposed stronger common measures, including an EU-wide energy consumption tax and a common method to include external (environmental) costs in the energy price. In another resolution, the Parliament called for at least 15% renewable energy (of conventional primary energy consumption) by 2010.

Source: EC Inform Energy.

Time to Act for IRP in EU

During the fall, probably in October, the EU Energy Ministers will discuss the amended proposal for a EU directive for Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) for the gas and electricity sector. The first proposal for an EU-directive for IRP was supported by the environmental NGOs and by the EU Parliament, but strongly opposed by the EU association of electricity companies, EURELECTRIC. Only 3 countries supported the proposal. The new proposal includes most of the amendments from the EU Parliament, mainly clarifications and more specific requirements for IRP. If the directive should go through the council of ministers this time, it is important that the NGOs who are in favour of the directive persuade their national governments to support it.

Source: INFORSE-Europe and EC Inform-Energy.

Gas Directive?

As holder of the EU presidency for the second half of 1997, Luxembourg decided to put highest priority on reaching a common position on the Gas Directive. Such a directive would open the EU gas networks to competition, allowing independent suppliers to use existing networks. A number of issues still need to be resolved before the countries can agree upon a common position, including requirements of separate accounts for production activities, and the status of gas storage in an open market.

Source: EC-Inform Energy, July '97.

Subsidies for Fossil Fuels Still High

Greenpeace has released a report "Energy Subsidies in Western Europe", quantifying subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewables and energy conservation. The report shows that the EU member states give 11 times as much for fossil fuels and nuclear than for renewables, while this ratio for the EU Commission funds is 7:1. It is very difficult to quantify subsidies, and some of the findings of this report can be criticized. This does not change the overall picture: nuclear energy and fossil fuels receive by far the largest share of energy subsidies, and only a smaller part goes to the sustainable energy solutions for which all countries have declared their support.


Information: Greenpeace International Climate Campaign, Keizersgracht 176, 1016 DW Amsterdam, Netherlands, ph: +31-20-523 6222, fax: +31-20-523 6200,

New Nukes to Replace Chernobyl?

As part of the international agreement to close Chernobyl in 2000 is a proposal to finish two half-built VVER 1000 reactors in Ukraine: Khmelnitsky 2 and Rovno 4. The investment for this should come from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and from the EU. The plan has been widely criticized by NGOs and others because of lack of safety measures, and because the reactors are not the least-cost option. Because of the critics, a new environmental impact analysis is to be carried out from Sept. '97 to March'98. NGOs that want to participate in this process should contact:

Mr. Norbert Jousten, European Comm., DG IA, Rue de la Loi 200, Brussels 1049 Belgium, fax: 32-2-29639 18. or

BankWatch Network Energy Coordinator Petr Hlobil, Chlumova 17, Praha 3, 13000 Czech Republic, ph/fax:+420-2-22780052, e-mail: