Environment/industry groups call for renewables directive to meet climate change objectives.

The EU will fail to meet its Kyoto commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and risk losing thousands of jobs in the renewable energy industry without a renewable energy directive, environment and industry groups warn.

The European Wind Energy Association, Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Friends of the Earth, Climate Network Europe, The Business Council for Sustainable Energy Future, COGEN Europe, and key German wind energy groups, are calling on the energy council (which meets in Brussels on May 11th) to reach an agreement on an EU directive with binding targets for the phase-in of renewable energy.

The groups have released a set of principles they say should be incorporated into such a directive (linked below), calling for 8% of each countries energy to come from renewables by 2005 and then 16% by 2010, with a 2% phase-in per year thereafter.

The groups warned the European Commission that proceeding with the liberalisation of EU electricity markets without addressing renewable energy access to the grid and market distortions threatens to decimate the new European renewable energy industry and undermine the EU’s Kyoto Climate Convention commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

Christophe Bourillon of the European Wind Energy Association warned: “The wind industry has developed into a major export industry employing tens of thousands of people in Europe, without a directive this industry will be severely undermined.”

“The EU energy ministers face a serious policy gap with huge stakes.” Said Dr. Karl Mallon of Greenpeace. “If there are no legally binding targets for renewable energy, then the Kyoto commitments are as good as dead and we can kiss goodbye to the European market lead in renewable technology.”

“Without a directive in place, utilities will challenge domestic renewable energy access laws using competition law,” said Dr Stephan Singer of the WWF. “This is despite the fact that the fossil fuel and nuclear energy receive up to 15bn ECU in direct subsidies each year compared to only on tenth of that received by the renewable energy sector” he said.

“Renewable energy is a crucial part of the EU climate change response strategy and energy policy, but there is still no renewables legislation in place,” said Anna Stanford of the Friends of the Earth. “We believe these principles have struck the right balance between electricity reform and the need to the highly competitive renewable energies into the market.”

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie