Lobby groups unite to bring Directive back to life

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A lobbying campaign by environmental and wind groups helped bring the renewables Directive back to life, claim the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and Greenpeace. The lobby effort also included World Wide Fund for Nature, Friends of the Earth, Climate Network Europe, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy Future, COGEN Europe, and, significantly, German wind energy groups Fordergesellschaft Windenergie (FGW) and Bundesverband WindEnergie (BWE). The German lobby had earlier opposed a draft Directive.

All the organisations joined forces in Brussels in the lead-up to the crucial May 11 energy council meeting. An earlier EC attempt at a Directive had been derailed under strong pressure from the German renewables lobby, before the supporters of the Directive had managed to mobilise their forces. Presenting a united front at a press briefing on May 6, the nine groups warned that without a Directive, the EU would fail to meet its Kyoto commitments and risk losing thousands of jobs. They issued a set of principles and lobbied all of the ministers who were to attend the May 11 meeting.

Their key demand, however, for legally binding minimum targets for each country was rejected. The groups were calling for at least 8% of electricity from renewables by 2005, rising to 16% by 2010, with minimum increases of 4% by 2005 and 8% by 2010. The coalition wants to see the Directive promote technical and geographical diversity in the use of renewables and to remove anti competitive mechanisms-such as subsidies for conventional generation-or compensate for these with fiscal measures. Priority grid access for embedded generators is also a demand.

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