Incineration should not be promoted if it undermines waste hierarchy, says Parliament

The European Parliament has adopted a number of amendments suggested by the Council for a directive on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, including one on the classification of incineration as a renewable energy source.

The common position on the Directive (see related story) published by the Council in March, differed considerably from the results of the Parliament’s vote at the first reading in November last year.

Whilst adopting the amendment clarifying the way in which waste incineration may be classified as a renewable energy source, Parliament stressed that the incineration of non-separated municipal waste should not be promoted under a future support system for renewables if such promotion would undermine the waste hierarchy designed to promote sustainability.

Another difference between the Council’s common position and Parliament’s first reading was on the question of whether national targets for renewable energy should be compulsory or voluntary. Whilst Parliament believed that there was a need for mandatory targets, the Council could not agree. However, Parliament has now adopted an amendment that if Member States have not made progress towards achieving their national voluntary goals, the Commission should make proposals which may include mandatory levels. Voluntary targets should be in line with the global target that renewable energy should account for 12% of gross national energy consumption, stated MEPs. Member States must also be able to give a guarantee that their national support schemes for renewables will be able to continue for seven years in order to maintain the confidence of investors.

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