European Commission Proposes New Renewable Energy Directive

The European Commission has released a proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of renewable energy. The Directive is designed to address all sectors of the renewable energy industry with the goal of helping them move toward the Commission’s target for 20 percent of Europe’s energy being producing from renewable sources by 2020.

“The long awaited Directive contains the necessary elements which should help meet the 20% target. Now we expect the Member States and the Parliament to further improve the legislative document and agree on the directive this year since time is running out,” said EREC President Arthouros Zervos. “We hope that all parties will stick to their commitments to make this happen. The whole world is watching us. It is up to us to prove the EU is serious and efficient in guaranteeing affordable and clean energy supply to its citizens.”

The Directive includes measures to remove barriers to growth for renewables, including simplifying authorization procedures for new projects. It also includes updates to the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) and funding for research and development of next generation renewable energy sources. The commission estimates the cost of the directive will be between €13-18 billion per year beginning in 2010.

“The European Commission has today provided a powerful response to the imminent energy and climate crisis. By introducing a voluntary trading mechanism, controlled by Member States, the proposal maintains market stability, increases investor confidence and will help Member States to reach their ambitious, yet achievable, targets,” said Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive.

European industry groups including the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) have all issued statements supporting the directive. They say that it will go a long way to reaching the European Union’s 20 percent by 2020 goal.

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