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Proposed EU supply Directive looks set to be weakened

The European Commission's proposed directive on security of electricity supply looks set to be watered down, as both the parliament and council of ministers demand that provisions that would promote interconnection between countries are removed or diluted. In his amendments to the proposed directive, parliament's rapporteur Giles Chichester also sweeps away all renewables-friendly provisions. Chichester, who chairs the parliament's Industry Research and Energy (ITRE) committee, is known to be hostile towards wind power. The commission's proposal seeks to further the goal of a single European market for electricity by safeguarding security of supply and fostering competition in and between countries through adequate interconnection. The original draft required member states to consider the particular needs of renewable energy capacity in electricity networks when making investments decisions or security of supply policies. Chichester's amendments remove all reference to renewables in the interests, he says, of deleting "unnecessarily prescriptive and interventionist text." Surprisingly, his report was passed by the ITRE committee. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is disappointed. "We agree with the commission that interconnectors are key to creating undistorted competition in the power market," says EWEA's Christian Kjær. "The six largest power companies in Europe own 60% of the generation capacity and 80% of the infrastructure. We are seeing a trend towards ever more consolidation through horizontal and vertical mergers which reduces competition. Without interconnectors, there is a risk that European power markets will continue to be fragmented, and competition will continue to be ineffective," he says. The growth of wind power will suffer as a result.

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