Electricity companies call for ‘flexmex’ not regulation to meet Kyoto targets

International electricity industry associations have called for flexibility mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol to apply to industry as well as to nations, and for the avoidance of "unsuitable measures such regulation and taxes", in a position paper released this week.

The electricity industry considers flexibility mechanisms essential elements in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and countries should provide individual enterprises with full access to all these mechanisms in a ‘non-distortionary’ manner, according to the joint position paper by the Edison Electric Institute (USA), Unipede (Europe) and the Far Eastern Power Corporation. These mechanisms include emissions trading, and emissions credits for establishing carbon sinks and contributing to cleaner technology projects in developing countries.

This week, Unipede, with its EU sister organisation has launched a voluntary programme called the Energy Wisdom Programme (EWP), which aims to encourage member companies to achieve “significant and measurable improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in GHG emissions”. A Unipede spokesman told edie the programme will include studies into more efficient electric technologies, and a study into the use of cleaner coal. The first project, he said, will be to provide incentives for consumers to use energy-efficient light bulbs. These use around 60% less energy, but are currently very expensive and often do not fit existing sockets. The project ‘under study’ plans to make them more affordable and attractive to consumers.

Unipede told edie that actions by consumers to make more effective use of energy can produce several times more emissions reduction than supply-side actions by electricity producers. Further, there are substantial GHG advantages in switching to electricity from the direct use of fossil fuels – one tonne of carbon dioxide released from the use of electrical energy is equivalent to six tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to get the same results from the direct use of fossil fuels, says Unipede.

Although Unipede says it recognises the need to use more renewable energy sources and that this is “under study”. However, it has no specific targets to replace fossil fuels with renewables, and regards the European Commission’s objective to double the use of renewables by 2010 as “highly ambitious”.

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