A draft European Commission Directive to make integrated resource planning (IRP) compulsory in member countries of the European Union was discussed by representatives of industry, consumer groups and the Commission at a one day closed conference in Brussels on May 31. IRP, already adopted by many utilities in the US, requires energy planners to consider all available options before building new power plant, including energy saving and renewables, and keep consumption of primary energy sources to a minimum (Windpower Monthly, September 1993). IRP, seen by the Commission as an essential part of its strategy for reduction of CO2 emissions, shifts utility focus away from achieving greater sales volumes and towards energy efficiency and a mixed resource base. However, the conference agreed it was necessary to find a compromise between liberalisation and regulation, reports the European Information Service. IRP was considered by all sides as a positive step forward, but before introduction it was necessary to find ways of evaluating, internalising, and incorporating external costs and of finding out who will benefit from this process. The draft Directive would require EU countries to publish their IRP plans and regularly update them through progress reports.
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