EU states drag their feet on renewables

The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against several states that have still not incorporated EU legislation promoting renewable electricity into domestic law - more than three years past the October 2003 deadline.

Eight states including the UK have failed to report on progress or implement sufficient measures to promote renewable electricity, as required by the EU Renewables Directive.

The Directive sets out to raise renewable electricity sourcing in Europe from the current 14% to 21% by 2010, and obliges EU states to implement domestic targets and measures to this end.

On Tuesday, the Commission launched legal proceedings against four states – the UK, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic – for failing to report on progress in increasing the share of renewables in electricity generation as required by the Directive.

Five others – Italy, Latvia, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland – are being pursued for not doing enough to promote renewable electricity sources.

All eight offenders will be receiving letters of formal notice from the Commission, and given two months to reply. If all other means fail, they risk having to answer in the European Court of Law.

Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs commented: “Europe should make full use of the potential offered by renewable energy sources.

“This aim will only be realised through a long-term commitment to develop and install renewable energy and through the active involvement of all Member States to promote the use of green energies.”

In a separate development, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg will be receiving formal warnings from the Commission over their lack of progress or bad reporting on promoting biofuels.

The 2003 EU Biofuels Directive sets 2% as the 2005 target for the biofuel share in the petrol and diesel, rising to 5.75% in 2010, with member states required to set their own targets and report on progress.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “Biofuels are the only known substitute for fossil fuels in transport today. They contribute to our security of energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in rural areas.

“Most Member States are going to great lengths to increase the use of biofuels and I regret that a small number of them have yet to join in on this effort.”

Goska Romanowicz

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