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EC gets tough on countries with failing renewables' targets

To the delight of the renewables lobby, the European Commission is getting tough with countries that fail on their renewable energy obligations. In April it launched legal proceedings against eight member states for failing to transpose renewables legislation into their national laws before the October 2003 deadline. Five countries -- Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Latvia -- have not done enough to promote renewable energy. The 2001 European Renewables Directive requires countries to implement legislation or measures to ensure fair grid access for renewables, establish physical planning rules and introduce "guarantees of origin" to boost the take-up of renewables. Four countries -- Italy, Czech Republic, Poland and the UK -- failed to report their progress on renewables to the Commission. Italy fell short on both counts. On the same day, the Commission targeted countries that have not properly opened up their energy markets. It launched infringement proceedings against 17 states that had not applied the rules in the EC's legislation on the internal market for electricity and gas. Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) applauds both the Commission's actions. Effective competition in the power market is a pre-condition for creating a level playing field for renewable energy, says Kjaer. "By its legal actions, the European Commission has demonstrated its commitment to removing discriminatory practices and structural problems that are sources of constant frustrations for the European wind energy industry," he comments.

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