|Sustainable Energy News - No. 14 September 1996 (INFORSE, 1996)|
A common position on the EU directive on electricity markets was reached at the EU Energy Ministers' meeting, June 20, after 4 years of negotiations. With this recent development, a binding directive can be expected within a year. The common position includes most of the previous agreements (see Sustainable Energy News 11 and earlier). One new element is an agreed upon timetable for permitting large consumers to buy on an open electricity market, across the borders:
· starting in 1999, consumers above 40 GWh/year will be granted such access (22% of electricity sales);
· starting in 2000, consumers above 20 GWh/year (27% sales);
· starting in 2003, consumers above 9 GWh/year (33% sales).
The paragraph on public service obligations still includes environmental protection as one of the costs that a state may ask all consumers to pay, including those trading on the free market. According to previous agreements, this can allow countries to give preferential treatment to non-polluting energy sources, but it is a question of national policy. There will be a second hearing in the EU Parliament before the directive takes effect.
INforSE-Europe organisations are now analysing the implications of the directive for renewable energy and efficiency.
Following the agreement on electricity, the lrish presidency of the EU has started negotiations on a gas directive. It is possible that an agreement on a gas directive can be reached quite quickly, building on the agreements of the electricity directive.
No IRP Directive
The proposed directive on integrated resource planning (IRP) in the electricity sector was not approved by the last Energy Ministers' Council. Because of the limited support for the proposal, negotiations will not continue. This means, effectively, that there will not be an IRP directive with binding obligations for the EU countries The EU Commission can now decide to make an IRP recommendation, but it might not find it worth the effort.
With this measure not approved, it will be even harder to reach the CO2 stabilization and reduction goals of EU.
Efficiency Standards for Fridges
Efficiency standards for freezers and fridges have been approved by the EU Parliament in June at the same level as agreed by the Energy Council in December 1995. They decided upon a 15% efficiency increase over the current leveL with voluntary agreements for further improvements. This was better than the 10% increase proposed by the EU Commission but still is very modest compared with the technical potential.
I5% Renewables Called by EP
The European Parliament (EP) now calls for 15% renewable energy in the 12 "old" EU countries. This is much more ambitious than the official EU goal of 8% renewable energy by 2005 for the "old" countries (the "new" EU countries, Austria Finland, and Sweden already have a +35% share of renewable energy). It is important for the renewable/sustainable energy organization to follow up on the implementation of this new goal. This can be a key part of a EU environmental plan that includes stabilization and reductions of CO2 emissions.
Sources: Danish Energy Agency, ECInform Energy (Iyons@,ecinform.demon.co.uk), and others.