Directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources to become law

The European Union Council has adopted the directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources, obliging member states to meet 12% of their gross internal energy consumption and 22.1% of their electricity consumption from renewables by 2010.

The directive, which has the two principal aims of increasing the share of gross internal energy consumption at Community level to 12% and consumed electricity to 22.1% from renewable energy sources by 2010, was proposed by the Commission last year and is the central platform in the Community’s fight to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Although each individual member state will initially be set targets for domestic consumption of electricity produced from renewable sources of energy, depending on each country’s development potential and starting point, within one year of entry into force and every five years thereafter, governments will be required to set their own targets. The majority of countries, however, have already done this and promised to meet certain levels of renewable use by 2010, one example being the UK which has promised to meet 10% of its energy demand from renewables by this date.

The European Commission will have to monitor the conformity of the actions taken at national level and four years after the implementation of the directive, which occurs when it is published in the official journal. It will have the opportunity to propose a more harmonised system of aid, on the basis of the experience of each EU member, although such a system will not come into place for 12 years. Other measures introduced by the directive are: the introduction of a system of certification of green electricity; the creation of accompanying measures designed to create suitable conditions for the introduction of renewables on the domestic market while respecting rules of competition; ensuring certification of renewables within two years of entry into force of the directive; the acceleration of the authorisation procedure for the establishment of production centres for green electricity within two years; and the guarantee that the calculation of connection costs for new producers are non-discriminatory.

“In Bonn, Europe has saved the Kyoto Protocol. Now, it has to give to itself the means to achieve it,” commented Olivier Deleuze, the Secretary responsible for Energy and Sustainable Development from Belgium, which is currently holding the EU’s presidency.

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