INFORMAL ENERGY COUNCIL : RENEWABLES AND INFRASTRUCTURES ON AGENDA.
The member states' ministers for energy met in an informal Council, on 17 September in Nicosia, to discuss two key dossiers: the future of renewable energy beyond 2020 and the establishment of trans-European energy infrastructures. These two dossiers are linked since those in favour of renewable energy are pushing for priority to be given to renewables in the new energy infrastructures. Alongside the 27 energy ministers, the ministers of the European Economic Area (EEA), Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, members of the European Parliament and the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Adnan Z Amin, were also present at the meeting.
The participants discussed - without reaching conclusions - the Commission's June communication on the future of renewable energy beyond the binding objective - which set shares of renewables in the energy mix and transport by 2020. The Commission's draft communication on the future of biofuels was also broached by the participants. If biofuels, as per the current policy, have to make up 10% of fuel in transport by 2020, the draft communication challenges this objective by proposing to limit to 5% the share of first-generation biofuels and to fulfil the remaining 5% with the - still hypothetical - production of second and third-generation biofuels.
Even though the ministers have not commented on this legislative plan, NGOs, including Oxfam, said they were "disappointed" that the ministers have not spoken out against a policy for biofuels which "undermines poorer communities' right to land and food". "We cannot continue to burn food in our boilers when poor families are hungry - the binding objectives for biofuels must be dropped," said Natalia Alonso, the head of Oxfam International's EU Office in Brussels.
AGREEMENT BEFORE END 2012
Under the presidency of Neoklis Sylikiotis, the Cypriot minister for energy, the ministers also discussed the draft regulation on trans-European energy infrastructures. The proposal plans to grant priority to twelve corridors and strategic areas of trans-European energy infrastructure. The Commission has proposed allotting 9.1 billion for these priority infrastructures under the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020. The talks provided an opportunity to clarify certain points, such as the regulatory treatment and the rationalisation of authorisation granting procedures, as well as the role and the important work of regional groups in selecting projects of common interest.
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|Date:||Oct 5, 2012|
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