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Parliament hearing on renewable energy sources

The European Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy held a public hearing on renewable energy sources in Brussels on 7 May 1996. The object of the hearing was to give MEPs a greater understanding of the prospects, obstacles and opportunities o...

The European Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy held a public hearing on renewable energy sources in Brussels on 7 May 1996. The object of the hearing was to give MEPs a greater understanding of the prospects, obstacles and opportunities of renewable energy sources. The Parliament is expected to adopt a resolution calling on the Commission to draw up a European action plan on renewable energy sources in the summer of 1996. The Committee heard that hydro power is the most important of renewable energy sources, although it cannot compete financially with fossil fuels. Other forms of renewable energy, such as wind power, solar power and photovoltaic energy have limited uses, and the available technology is inadequate for industrial use. As regards developing countries, there was more potential for renewable energy sources to meet the expected increased demand in these countries. However, financing for these projects, although available, depended on plans being well-prepared and innovative. Members of the Committee felt that funding constraints disadvantaged small projects, particularly in hydro power. Such projects were not always competitive, they were told, and the regulatory considerations varied between Member States. As regards small hydro plants, many of the best sites had already been taken. The conclusion from the hearing was that although renewable energy sources suffer through lack of profitability, more efficient use of combinations of these renewable energy sources and fossil fuels, as well as a greater emphasis on energy saving, should be a high priority for the energy sector.