EU renewable energy directive's final rubber stamp

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The European Council last month rubber stamped the directive on renewable energy which aims to double electricity from renewables in Europe by 2010. After a long and rocky ride, the Commission's proposal for the directive was finally approved by the European Parliament in July after a number of compromises had been agreed between the Council, Parliament and Commission (Windpower Monthly, August & September, 2001). It will pass into law as soon as it is published in the official journal. The directive requires renewables to meet 12% of Europe's energy consumption and 22.1% of its electricity by 2010. Member states have agreed to non-binding national renewables targets to share in meeting the overall European objectives. The Commission's contentious plans for a Europe-wide system of support for renewables based on market mechanisms have been shelved until four years after the directive comes into effect. The Commission will then consider proposing a harmonised system of aid based on member states' experiences. Olivier Deleuze, State Secretary for Energy and Sustainable Development at the Belgian presidency, welcomed the Council's formal adoption of the directive. "In Bonn, Europe saved the Kyoto Protocol. Now it has to give itself the means to achieve it." The directive has been widely welcomed, particularly by big business keen to get involved in renewable energy, for committing governments to establishing markets favourable to the development of green power plant.

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