Wednesday, May 22, 2013

EU summit set to turn climate agenda upside down?

A sample of articles on decisions the EU may be taking on changing direction in energy policy, and why ..

EU summit set to turn climate agenda upside down | EurActiv:

Roger Pielke Jr. tweet
Europe’s plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050 could be turned on its head at a summit today (22 May) if EU heads of state and government sign off on measures prioritising industrial competitiveness over climate change in draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.
The draft text says that EU policy must ensure “competitive” energy prices, and declares it “crucial” that Europe diversify its energy supply and develop “indigenous energy resources” – a reference to renewable energies, but also coal, nuclear power and shale gas.
One high-profile German MEP Holger Krahmer (ALDE), hailed the end of “climate hysteria” in a jubilant press statement.
Or maybe not ...

A release from the Eurpean Parliament (referenced at the German Energy blog

 Energy mix: EU needs fixed target for renewables' share by 2030, MEPs say | European Parliament News

The need for a better integrated system at EU level to promote renewable energy, the possibility of adopting a mandatory target for 2030 and the desirability of incentives to invest were highlighted in a non-legislative resolution voted by Parliament on Tuesday.
"This resolution is a starting point for future debates. Renewable energy support needs to be seen from an EU perspective. We need to talk about how we are going to shape our climate policy after 2020 overall", rapporteur Herbert Reul (EPP, DE) told the House.
MEPs suggest that the EU should try to achieve a share of renewables in the overall energy mix even greater than the European Commission's current working assumption of 30%.
An amendment calling on the Commission to propose a mandatory EU-wide share for renewables for 2030 was adopted by a narrow majority (339 votes to 336, with 19 abstentions), but a proposal that this target should be between 40% and 45% was rejected
It seems the EU may pursue a Canadian strategy of goals without obligations.
The goals remain, but is demoted beneath a goal of affordability.

EU to dial back measures against global warming | GlobalPost:

The European Union, which has spearheaded efforts to curb global warming, is set to adopt a change of focus in response to concerns over costs and the impact on companies in economically depressed Europe.
Under the change, the European Union will prioritize the supply of energy at affordable prices over cutting greenhouse gas emissions which impose burdens on industries, in a turnaround of the region's energy policy, an EU official said Saturday.
EU leaders will decide on the shift in energy policy at a meeting Wednesday. The change reflects requests from businesses in the 27-member zone amid the prolonged economic slump triggered by the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, the official said.
A draft conclusion of the EU leaders' meeting obtained by Kyodo News said, "Against the backdrop of high pressure on Europe's competitiveness and increasing energy demand from major economies, the EU's energy policy must ensure the uninterrupted supply of households and companies at affordable and competitive prices."
The decision of the EU is particularly interesting as Romania is looking at slashing the programs it introduced to meet European Union membership requirements.

Romania Changes Course on Renewable Energy | The New York Times

“The influence of green certificates in the cost of products made in Romania, as well as on households, has started to be very big,” Constantin Nita, the minister for energy, said in a radio interview last month after announcing the government’s proposal. The cost of certificates, passed on to customers, would account for almost half of a 10 percent increase in electricity tariffs this year, he said.
According to the market operator Opcom, the market price averaged €56.44, or about $72, per certificate last year. A.N.R.E. said it estimated that the added cost to consumers was now about €11.50 per megawatt hour.
“So here we are caught in a vice between, on the one hand, domestic and industrial consumers, and on the other hand, the investors who risked and invested in this area,” Mr. Nita said.
In one of the poorest countries in the Union, where the average monthly wage is €340, reducing utility bills certainly resonates with voters. But investors were caught off guard by the announcement, especially since the program had been in place for little more than a year.
“Suspending green certificates would be an incredible mistake, and there is no legal or economic justification for it,” said Ciprian Glodeanu, president of the Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association, which represents companies like Enel, of Italy, and Samsung.
“There was a system that was approved by the European Commission, and suspending certificates doesn’t exist anywhere in what the commission approved,” he said. The government, he said, “should leave the system to function,” limiting subsidy reductions to those proposed by the energy regulator, in compliance with E.U. rules.

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