EU presidency downgrades renewables targets

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The new Finnish Presidency of the EU says it is in no hurry to push for new targets for renewable energy. Riku Huttunen from Finland's Ministry of Trade and Industry says that one of the main objectives of the new six month presidency, which starts this month, will be the effective implementation of the European internal market for electricity. "In the renewable energy field we are not in a hurry," he says. "Before setting targets we need a strong and deep analysis of what the possibilities are. I also think that the challenges included in the Renewables Directive are already hard enough for Europe." The directive requires 22% of electricity supply from renewables by 2010. Huttunen made his comments in Wind Directions, the magazine of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). EWEA maintains that long term mandatory targets are important for the wind sector. They would provide a strong signal of commitment to investors, encouraging them to commit risk capital, while enabling a stable technology development and cost reductions. "We are in a hurry," says EWEA's Christian Kjaer. "If we want to be in control of our own energy future, Europe needs to dramatically shift direction and start developing on a large scale the indigenous, clean renewable energy resources that are available at our doorstep. A good place to start is ambitious 2020 targets on renewables as proposed by the European parliament." At their spring summit this year, Europe's government leaders put a 15% renewables target by 2015 on the table. This is a step in the right direction says EWEA, but is far from the ambitions of the European parliament.

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