Speak Up Energy

Several EU business organisations (UNICE, Eurochambres) as well as the European Chemicals industry (CEFIC) criticised the Commission’s unilateral CO2 reduction targets for 2020. “Further strong CO2 reduction targets that have not been adopted by other major emitting nations will weaken the European industry’s competitiveness within the global business environment without achieving effective environmental benefits,” said a CEFIC press statement.Employers’ organisation UNICE also warned of serious price hikes as a result of the Commission’s proposals. “If the contribution of nuclear energy does not increase in the EU in the future,” writes UNICE, “the increased demand for renewable energies will be such that their price will skyrocket, making the envisaged EU energy strategy virtually impossible to sustain.”The Commission’s intention to continue its energy-market liberalisation, on the other hand, was welcomed by most industry groups such as the
Union of the Electricity Industry (Eurelectric) as well as SME lobby UEAPME and the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET). However the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) called the package a “PR exercise to justify higher energy bills and disguise failure of liberalisation”. ETUC, the European Trade Union Confederation, also considered the “pursuit of electricity and gas market liberalisation to be ‘reckless’.Foratom, the nuclear industry lobby, expressed its satisfaction with the Commission’s evaluation that “nuclear energy is one of the largest sources of carbon-dioxide free energy in
Europe”. It did not comment on the fact that the Commission leaves the decision on the future of nuclear in the hands of member states.The lobbying groups for the renewable energy industry were less impressed. EREC, the European Renewable Energy Council criticised the Commission’s “vague measures and ambiguous commitments”. EREC Policy Director Oliver Schäfer said: “This energy package is another major step on the Commission’s road to becoming the world leader in pure announcements and lip-service. In fact, for renewables it means a re-nationalisation of existing effective European legislation.” ESTIF, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, complained that the Commission did not put forward a proposal on renewable heating and cooling.CEPI, the European paper industry association, said that it supported the Commission’s integrated view on climate change, energy and industrial competitiveness, describing it as “a big step in the right direction”. However, it added that “by focusing solely on setting targets, the current debate on renewables is heading in the wrong direction”. COGEN Europe regretted that the Commission does not give enough weight to co-generation, “the most immediate single source of both energy saving and CO2 reduction available in
Europe today”. The European electricity industry association Eurelectric is much more critical of the Commission’s renewables targets. “The EU should avoid command-and-control measures such as binding energy targets or requirements to use only certain technologies,” and questioned the “wisdom and the realism of the proposed dramatic compulsory increase in the share of RES (renewables) in the energy mix by 2020”.Environmental NGOs focused on the Commission’s climate-change goals. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said that the package “lacks teeth”. EEB chief John Hontelez called the EU greenhouse-gas reduction target “unacceptably weak” and the energy policy proposals “unconvincing and potentially even damaging, particularly regarding biofuels and nuclear power”. WWF made similar comments, describing the EU energy revolution as “still a distant dream”. Friends of the Earth Europe called the package “good news for the dirty energy industry, bad news for people and the planet”.

From Eur Activ

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