EU: Energy ministers call for renewables framework

European energy ministers have asked the Commission to submit a concrete proposal for a Community framework on access to the internal electricity market for electricity from renewables.

At a meeting of the Energy Council in Brussels this week, ministers stressed the need for renewables to significantly increase their market share in the internal electricity market, if a 12% renewables target is to be reached, and commitments under the Kyoto protocol met.

Member States have implemented various measures to promote the use of renewables, in line with their national circumstances. The urged them to continue efforts to make greater use of renewables in the new environment of the internal electricity market, to make renewables more competitive, and thus improve their market position. In also stressed that action at European level must add value to these national measures.

Ministers agreed that a legislative framework should be set up that would allow different countries to implement the measures best suited to their national circumstances. At the same time, the framework should eliminate obstacles blocking greater use of the different types of renewables in the internal electricity market and trade in renewables, and should foster expansion of the share of electricity produced from renewables, they said.

The Council proposed the following examples for further consideration:

  • Common principles for carrying out the various measures to promote electricity production from renewable energy sources taking into account that in general market distortions should be as limited as possible.
  • Common principles for certifying the origin of electricity from renewable energy sources in order to enhance market confidence and facilitate trade.
  • Transparency and non-discrimination in the technical and commercial arrangements for connection of renewables to the network.
  • Mechanisms to bring about cost-effectiveness and low transaction costs within renewable electricity production and thereby support technical development at lower cost.

The Council also pointed out that a Community should recognise the difference in technological maturity of various types of renewables and their degree of competitiveness with conventional energy sources as well as the different national circumstances. Financial support schemes should be directed to renewables where they require assistance to become economically viable, while other forms of support might apply to all types of renewables.

The Council stressed that the relative costs for renewable energy sources must be reduced so that they may become competitive with other energy sources as soon as possible, bearing in mind that this is in general best achieved through market-based instruments. “Only in this way can the share of electricity from renewables in the internal electricity market be increased significantly over the long term. The various measures that the Member States may select to promote renewable energies and a possible Community framework on access to the internal electricity market for electricity from renewables must be oriented to this goal”.

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