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Greener energy council agenda

Renewables are now on the agenda of the European energy council as a result of the Kyoto climate change summit -- but only just. Despite pledges from the UK government to push for a greener Europe during its six month presidency of the EU, action on the EU's White Paper on renewable energy -- published in November (Windpower Monthly, January 1998) -- is not specifically referred to. Among his priorities, however, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has singled out a follow-up to the agreements reached in Kyoto on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a drive to improve air quality across Europe. "It is in the areas of climate change and air quality that I want to make the most progress over the next six months," he says. When the EU's energy ministers gather in May, for the only Energy Council meeting scheduled under the UK presidency, they will discuss how greater use of renewables and energy efficiency will help Europe meet its Kyoto target and achieve further emissions reductions. According to the UK Department of Trade and Industry, the White Paper will be discussed at the meeting on May 11. But it warns that the ECU 1.65 billion cost of the investment programme implicit in the White Paper cannot be pushed through quickly. Meantime, Greenpeace says action on the White Paper should be one of the UK presidency's priorities. In particular, the group wishes to see support for the document's "Campaign for Take-Off," which suggests, among other things, that European governments should support the installation of 10,000 MW of wind power on sites only marginally economic as yet, such as offshore and low wind speed areas.

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