European electricity industry resists renewables quota

Europe's electricity suppliers continue to resist the possibility of binding targets for renewable energy growth and are against the use of fixed tariff schemes.

Eurelectric, the association representing the European electricity supply industry, has published its position on the promotion of renewable energies and their harmonisation with the internal electricity market. Although Eurelectric acknowledges its members’ desire to be integral players in the future growth of the EU renewable energy market, it wants renewables growth to be market based and to avoid market distortions.

On the subject of targets for renewables growth, a Eurelectric spokesperson told edie that “we need to concentrate on realistic targets”. Such targets, said the spokesperson, must be based on accurate figures of the current renewables market share and should not be legally binding.

“What we want to see is a market-based system where renewable energies can stand on their own two feet,” said the spokesperson. Eurelectric agrees that some forms of renewable energy remain at an uncompetitive stage and therefore suggests a parallel market for such technologies. “The aim of a parallel market would be to foster competitiveness,” said the spokesperson, with the goal of bringing the nascent renewable energies to a stage where they could compete in the mainstream electricity market.

Wind energy is seen as a renewable energy that has reached, or almost reached, competitiveness. “It shouldn’t be supported in the way it is in some member states,” said the Eurelectric spokesperson, regarding fixed tariff schemes for wind energy that operate in several areas, including Germany.

The president of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) agrees that the renewables sector will need the expertise of Europe’s conventional electricity producers if it wants to grab considerable electricity market share. “The electricity distribution systems in Europe have been built based on large, centrally located plants generating electricity and distributing it out to sparsely-populated areas,” Dr Rave told edie. Rave believes that this system will have to be reversed in some way to accommodate renewable energies like wind, that are often located in sparsely populated regions.

The EWEA published, with Greenpeace and the Danish Forum for Energy and Development, Wind Force 10 report last week, stating that wind energy could achieve a 10% market share on a global basis by 2010 (see related story). Wind Force 10 and Eurelectric’s position on renewable energy are both timed to precede a meeting of EU energy ministers scheduled for December. The directive on renewable energy will be discussed at the meeting, and Rave is hopeful that decisions will be taken. Finland’s presidency of the EU finishes at the end of the year and Rave believes that “the Finns might like to get something done in this area”.

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