New EU Energy guidelines to keep focus on renewable energy

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 - 10am

On Tuesday 8th October, during the EU Commissioners’ weekly meeting held in Strasbourg, EU Commission Vice-President and EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia proposed the new EU energy guidelines for the period from 2014-2020, to be published in November. In the latest draft, the Commissioner had not only dropped formerly included specific support to nuclear energy, but above all, promised to strengthen the framework for renewable energy support.

Cooperatives Europe welcomes Almunia’s proposal, in particular to modify the formerly suggested technology neutral bidding process for renewable energy, which would have discriminated local and regional initiatives against large project developers and the energy oligopolies.

This change in the new guidelines represents a significant shift towards creating a level-playing field for all actors in the EU’s energy market, in order to access state aid for renewable energy development.

Dirk J. Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, stressed in his letter to EU Commission Vice-President Joaquín Almunia and EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, sent the day before the meeting, the importance of a new energy player: the European citizen.

Excerpt from the letter:

“Citizens are not simple consumers of energy anymore, but have become actors themselves as energy producers, distributors and financiers. Renewable energy cooperatives (more than 2.000 already in the EU) as well as cooperatives from other sectors such as housing have become one of the preferred company choices for citizens to make the energy transition a reality in Europe.

Where national governments have created adapted regulatory frameworks, such as in Germany, but not only, but also in Scandinavian countries or in Italy, renewable energy sources have excelled. Those support mechanism have lead to an explosion in renewable energy technology innovation leading to a stunning increase in their competitiveness within as little as five years. This is in sharp contrast to old technologies, such as nuclear, which after decades of existence, still seem to require state support and whose costs are rising, as evidenced by the current third generation nuclear power plants.”

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