8 July 2010

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Background

Practical Information

Renewables account for 62% of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU in 2009

The "Renewable Energy Snapshots" report, published this week by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), shows that renewable energy sources accounted for 62% (17GW) of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU27 in 2009. The share rose from 57% in 2008. For the second year running, wind energy accounted for the largest share of the new capacity: 10.2 GW out of the 27.5 GW built, representing 38% of the total. In absolute terms, renewables produced 19.9% of Europe's electricity consumption last year.

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More: 2010 Renewable Energy Snapshots

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Pre-announcement: EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS)

Pursuant to Article 9 of the revised EU ETS Directive, the Commission shall publish the absolute Community-wide quantity of allowances for 2013 (the "cap"), based on the total quantities of allowances issued in accordance with the National Allocation Plans of Member States for the period from 2008 to 2012. In accordance with this provision, the Commission will adopt a decision setting the cap for 2013 on 9 July 2010. The decision will be published on 9 July 2010 at 12.00 CET (GMT + 2 hours) on the website of the Environment Directorate General.

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Background

Oil exploration and extraction - risks, liability and regulation

Speech by Commissioner Oettinger at the European Parliament Plenary Session Strasbourg, 7 July 2010

 

Mr President, honourable Members of the European Parliament, ladies and gentlemen,

This is the second time in less than two months that I speak to you about the potential risks linked with offshore oil exploration and extraction. When I first addressed this Plenary in May, I had just convened the representatives of major companies with offshore oil production activities in Europe. I asked them to provide responses to a questionnaire scrutinizing their safety policies. We will review both applicable standards and procedures in order to identify possible weaknesses at a meeting next week. I have proposed to your environment committee to come and discuss the results with you the very next day (15 July). In parallel, the various Commission services concerned have been looking into the existing legislation.

The interim results of Commission's review show that offshore safety is covered by a number of complex legislative acts. However the problem is not so much the number of legislation. The key question is: do all these pieces of legislation provide a complete enough coverage for risk management and prevention as well as post-damage follow-up? The answer is not straightforward. This is why I have been working closely with my most concerned colleagues, Commissioners Georgieva, Damanaki and Potočnik. The idea is to make sure that we cover all the stages in the process: from prevention to response and liability issues. In this sense, Commissioner Damanaki, who will address you next, will further refer to the maritime aspects of the challenge we're facing, notably how we can turn the terrible accident in the Gulf of Mexico into an opportunity for literally "untapped waters" so far, such as the potential for renewable ocean energy.

No matter what regulatory regime is in place and how well supervised, it is the industry, the individual companies which are the first in line. They must take the issue of safety as absolute concern because they are aware that they bear full responsibility. They must maintain a 100% "safety first" policy from their side. Safety is non negotiable. In terms of operational and labour force safety, we have ascertained that the standards and principles set in European legislation provide for a high level of prevention. On the question of liability, "polluter pays" is the underlying principle of our environmental liability system. Overall, legislation applicable in Europe built on it serves us well, addressing a wide range of risks and challenges associated with this kind of industrial activity. However, we have also seen that there is scope for improvement. Existing legislation could be made clearer and up to date. Be assured that, if proven necessary, we will not hesitate to come with legislative initiatives in the coming months.

This is the reason why I also called a meeting with the national regulatory and supervisory authorities next week 14 July. Together with Commissioners Potočnik and Damanaki, we will be discussing concrete steps to improve safety. Operational matters as well as regulatory issues will be examined. On the latter, I would like to be certain that EU's standards are set at the highest possible level in order to maintain the most stringent regime in the world. Similarly, I want to get the assurance that controls are effective. In this respect, I would not hesitate to propose a European framework for "controlling the controllers" if need be.

I also appreciate the discussions that we have had so far with you on the subject, as they have been useful contributions to best assess the potential problems of the offshore industry, on which we need to focus.

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