No 320 - Weekly - 30 July 2009

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The Commission's integrated energy and climate change proposal 2008

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• Transport



Practical Information




• 14-16 September
European Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden
• 16-22 September
European Mobility Week



Passenger Rights





• Transport

Tajani: lost luggage problem still unacceptable in the European Union

The number of bags delayed at the airport amounted to 4.6 million between January 2008 and October 2008 in the European Union 1 . In 2008 32.8 million pieces of luggage were reported lost around the world 2 , which amounts to a decrease of 20% compared to 2007 when 42.4 million were reported lost. Effectively, one piece of luggage has been reported missing for every 64 passengers 3 . Although there is now a decrease following five years of growth, this does not reduce the seriousness of the problem. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, responsible for transport, called the number of bags mislaid, damaged or lost during European layovers "excessive and unacceptable".

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Energy Efficiency



Public-Private Partnerships in research: Commission calls for proposals to boost research in key market areas

The European Commission has launched on 30 July the first round of calls for proposals for three Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) set up in the European Economic Recovery Plan: Factories of the Future, Energy-efficient Buildings, and Green Cars. From 2010 to 2013, a total of €3.2 billion will be allocated to research to develop new technologies in key market areas, with half of the funds coming from industry and half from the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme for R&D (FP7). This collaboration between the Commission and the industry will foster global competitiveness for European businesses, bring down the excessive energy consumption of Europe's buildings that make up one-third of EU CO2 emissions, and develop new and sustainable forms of road transport.






Renewable Energy



Progress on renewable energy

In 1997 the Commission published the White Paper on renewable energy which announced a target to double the European Union's renewable energy share to 12% by 2010. The creation of this renewable energy policy was founded on the need to address environmental concerns surrounding energy production and consumption, improve the security of Europe's energy supply and develop Europe's competitiveness and industrial and technological innovation.

Two key pieces of legislation (Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC) set 2010 indicative targets for the EU and each of its Member State and required actions to improve the growth, development and access of renewable energy in the electricity and transport sectors. In addition, a Biomass Action Plan was adopted in 2005 to focus attention on the specific need for Member States to develop Europe's biomass resources. Regular assessments and reports have been prepared on the EU's progress towards its 2010 targets and on its efforts in general to develop renewable energy, as required under the two aforementioned Directives.

The last Report was published in April 2009 with the purpose of providing information on progress since the 2007 reports. This report also sets the scene for the future by describing the state of progress in developing renewable energy today and explaining how the new framework will drive forward the growth of renewable energy, including biomass, in the immediate years ahead.

Regarding green electricity, the share has increased since the 2007 report. Eurostat data shows a share of 15.7% for the EU in 2006, up from 14.5% in 2004. However Commission analysis still suggests the 2010 21% renewable energy target for electricity will not be reached without significant additional effort. The greatest growth has occurred in the use of solid biomass and in wind. When the national breakdown of these technologies is examined, it is clear that a few Member States are responsible for the bulk of the EU's progress, with other Member States making limited or even no progress at all.

Stability is a critical feature of an effective policy framework, in order to facilitate investment. Consequently, "stop-and-go" regimes that run out of budget, as well as policy and rule changes hamper the development of renewable electricity. Despite some improvements, such as the development of premium feed in tariffs and more detailed technology banding, it remains essential to improve support schemes, particularly for those Member States with slow rates of progress.

Several non-cost related barriers, such as non-adequate consumer information (guarantees of origin), burdensome administrative procedures or insufficient grid connection rules are also significant constraints on the growth of renewable electricity.

Little progress appears to have been made on the Directive's requirements concerning administrative reforms. Procedures continue to be complicated, with multiple authorities requiring consultation when applying for construction, development or environmental permits. Surveys suggest that the time lags involved and the uncertainty of the process remain major bottlenecks.

The problems of gaining connection to the electricity grid often result from a lack of adequate rules on grid connection and from a failure to dedicate sufficient administrative resources to process applications. Technical problems are also disruptive, with limited capacity of the grid to incorporate more variable renewable electricity and a general lack of strategy to address the problem.

The inadequacies of the energy market are addressed in the third internal energy market package that will contribute to overcoming the difficulties for producers of renewable electricity to gain access to the market and to compete fairly.

Concerning the transport sector, the Directive 2003/30/EC requires Member States to set targets for the share of renewable energy replacing petrol and diesel in transport in 2005 and 2010, taking as their starting point reference values of 2% and 5,75% respectively.

 Biofuels production progressed much faster in 2006 and 2007 than in earlier years. In 2007 the use of biofuels in road transport was 2.6% (8.1 Mtoe). If growth continues at the current rate, a share of 5% will be achieved in 2010.

In 2007 biodiesel accounted for 75% of renewable fuels in transport, of which 26% was imported; while bioethanol constituted 15%, of which 31% was imported. The remaining 10% was pure vegetable oil consumed in Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands and biogas in Sweden. There was no reported consumption of other types of renewable energy in transport.

 The more rapid development of biofuels since 2005 reflects the widespread development of support systems at Member State level. Tax relief and biofuel obligations remain the two most common instruments used by Member States to promote biofuels. The good progress resulting from tax exemptions and new measures such as biofuels obligations are still in evidence today in those Member States which are progressing towards their targets. However progress is uneven and nine Member States have made little or no progress, raising concern about whether their targets will in fact be achieved.

From an economic point of view, increased use of biofuels has contributed to security of supply by decreasing fossil fuel and diversifying fuel consumption in the EU. The development of biomass and biofuel sectors has also contributed to the EU economy by generating additional jobs. As for the environmental impacts, the net greenhouse gas savings achieved in the EU from biofuels placed on the market and consumed in 2006 and 2007 amounted to 9.7 and 14.0Mt CO2 eq respectively.

Whilst not covered by former European legislation, the heating and cooling sector was also evaluated by the Report, as this sector is responsible for approximately 50% of all final energy consumption and 60% of all renewable final energy consumption. The use of renewable energy sources is currently dominated by biomass, but also includes solar thermal and geothermal energy.

As for the Biomass Action Plan follow up, the report mentions that only few national biomass action plans have been submitted so far. These plans, whilst acknowledging the importance of biomass, differ substantially, making comparisons of strategies difficult, and give limited consideration to the mobilisation of new biomass resources. Problems confronting the growth of biomass include administrative and non market barriers, such as the need for clearer and harmonised definition of terms (notably for biomass and waste) and bottlenecks arising from long and legally complicated procedures for processing permits.

The new Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC) adopted in April 2009 and entering in force in December 2010 further develops the European legislative framework setting new mandatory national targets for renewable energy by 2020 and addressing all the aforementioned issues identified as main barriers to renewable energy development. It requires Member States to elaborate their National Renewable Energy Action Plan by June 2010 detailing national strategies including support schemes and biomass policy to reach the targets. It addresses all major non-cost barriers such as administrative procedures, regulations and building codes, information, training, the use of guarantees of origin, grid infrastructure connection and operation. It confirms that planned further biofuels growth should be accompanied by sustainability criteria, and the new Renewable Energy Directive therefore establishes sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids covering minimum requirements for greenhouse gas savings and requirements to avoid damaging land use change. In order to enable Member States to achieve their targets more efficiently, the new legislation introduces flexibility instruments, such as statistical transfers, joint projects and joint support schemes. As implementation has to be continuous over the 10 year period, biannual reporting requirements are maintained both for Member States and the Commission.




For a complete list of current public consultations please go to Consultations on Energy issues and Consultations on Transport issues


•  Public Consultations

No new public consultations were posted this week.



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Please note that the announcement of technical reports and documents recently produced in specific energy and transport sectors can be found on the "What's New" pages of the corresponding chapters of Energy and Transport on the EUROPA website.

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