Commission favours electricity from renewables
The European Commission has adopted a working paper on electricity from renewable energy sources and the internal market. It contains a detailed analysis of, and outlines the policy options available for, future European Union (EU) action regarding the creation of a competitive EU-wide internal market for electricity generated from renewable energy sources. The working paper suggests that there are two possible options for such a market: - In the medium term, through the operation of EU treaty rules on the internal market and state aid rules; - Pro-actively in the short term through EU legislation. The Acting European Commissioner responsible for energy, Mr. Papoutsis, described the paper as the next step towards creating a large, competitive EU renewable electricity market. This, he believes, will have a positive impact on employment, the environment and the regions. The Commission is keen to develop renewable energy sources, mainly to minimize the adverse effects on the environment normally associated with energy-producing processes. But renewable energy remains relatively expensive in comparison to traditional sources. The Commission is therefore encouraging the development of financial support schemes to assist the growth of this industry. All of the Member States of the EU have such support schemes in place, but these schemes differ significantly between different countries. The working paper therefore looks at the relative merits of these schemes and considers what is required to ensure the industry's long-term growth. The Commission will continue to examine the issues raised in the paper, and is awaiting responses to it from the European Parliament, the Council and the Energy Council.