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The last Council meeting of EU environment ministers on 11 May reached practical unanimity on the need for and basic contents of a renewable energy framework directive, EC Director-General for energy, Pablo Benavides, told edie. Likewise the European Parliament has been pushing very hard for such a directive, and rather than waiting for the Commission to draw up a proposal, has put forward a text on its own intitiative.

This makes it likely that a revised text, incorporating comments from the environment ministers, could be completed and approved during the term of the Finnish Presidency, which ends at the end of this year, says Benavides.

The problem with increasing renewable energy is that it currently is more expensive than fossil fuel generated power. So, in order to increase its market share there need to be mechanisms to that the grid buys more of this more expensive but cleaner power.

Some member states have already implemented support programmes for renewables, but these vary greatly in their approach and levels of success. The idea behind a renewables framework directive is to give official acceptance to these different support programmes, and provide a legal framework for the financial support.

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