WWF Fears EU Misses Renewable Energy Target

According to the international conservationist organization, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the 15 European Union (EU) member states are unlikely to hit their target, set under the Kyoto Protocol, of generating 22 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010. WWF fears the EU will achieve no more than 17 percent by the target date.

Brussels, Belgium – October 9, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] WWF revealed its concerns about the lack of effective policies for renewable power (wind, solar, and biomass) in the month that member states must report to the European Commission on progress in achieving renewable energy targets. WWF targeted Italy, UK, Greece, and France as the main culprits responsible for what WWF has labeled “an embarrassing failure.” While WWF credits Germany and Spain, as leaders on speedy renewable energy implementation in recent years, for being close to meeting their target goals. A report released by WWF evaluates the progress made by Member States in implementing the Renewables Directive, adopted in October 2001, which is the first directive from the EU to reduce greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. The report shows that although EU Member States have adopted national targets for renewable power, not enough measures have been taken to overcome the main barriers to the entry of renewable electricity into the market. WWF finds that a system known as “feed-in tariffs,” which guarantees prices for producers of renewable energy, is the most successful way of allowing renewable electricity to compete with often-subsidized fossil and nuclear power. It has been adopted by Germany and Spain and is now being taken up by some other EU governments. WWF believes that the EU’s 22 percent target could still be met if the following actions were taken by national governments: – “Feed-in” systems established with tariffs high enough to ensure renewables can compete with fossil and nuclear power and based on 10 to15 year contracts. – Priority access to the grid for renewable power. – Less bureaucracy for small producers of renewable electricity. – Internationally harmonized guidelines to ensure that planning authorities do not unnecessarily block the siting of renewable energy projects. – All electricity producers, and not just those producing renewable electricity, should have to guarantee the origin of their energy. WWF believes that governments must learn from past mistakes. The conservationist organization urges that targets for renewable energy must be legally binding, as the targets are currently classified as “indicative,” which is too often interpreted as “voluntary.” Therefore, WWF is asking the EU to immediately start developing a coordinated and legally binding framework for the implementation of a renewable energy target of 25 percent for all types of energy (electricity, heating and transport) for the enlarged EU by 2020. WWF maintains that such a motion would give the right signals to the power sector to turn from “coal to clean” to protect the climate and help investor security beyond 2010. “Renewable energy is good for everyone — for climate protection, jobs, clean air, and for independence from oil,” said Stephan Singer, of WWF. “It is hard to understand why governments keep on being fooled by the coal and nuclear industries.”
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