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Procedure : 2007/2090(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0287/2007

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PV 24/09/2007 - 16
CRE 24/09/2007 - 16

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PV 25/09/2007 - 6.20
CRE 25/09/2007 - 6.20
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Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Road Map for renewable energy in Europe

European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2007 on the Road Map for Renewable Energy in Europe (2007/2090(INI))

The European Parliament ,

-   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled An Energy Policy for Europe (COM(2007)0001),

-   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled Renewable Energy Road Map (COM(2006)0848),

-   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled Report on progress in renewable electricity (COM(2006)0849),

-   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled Biofuels progress report (COM(2006)0845),

-   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007, concerning the European Council's endorsement of a European Council Action Plan (2007-2009) – Energy Policy for Europe,

-   having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled Renewable Energy Road Map (SEC(2006)1720/2), accompanying the Renewable Energy Road Map,

-   having regard to the Impact Assessment (SEC(2006)1719/2), accompanying the Renewable Energy Road Map,

-   having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled Biofuels progress report (SEC(2006)1721/2), accompanying the Commission Communication COM(2006)0845,

-   having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2006 on a European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy – Green paper(1) ,

-   having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2006 on a strategy for biomass and biofuels(2) ,

-   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on Energy efficiency or doing more with less – Green Paper(3) ,

-   having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on security of energy supply in the European Union(4) ,

-   having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2006 on heating and cooling from renewable energy sources(5) ,

-   having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2005 on the share of renewable energy in the European Union and proposals for concrete actions(6) ,

-   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 13 April 2005 with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products(7) ,

-   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 18 December 2003 with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of cogeneration based on a useful demand in the internal energy market(8) ,

-   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 12 March 2003 with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport(9) ,

-   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 4 July 2001 with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market(10)

-   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

-   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development(A6-0287/2007),

A.   whereas, the Spring European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007 adopted an overall binding target for the EU to generate 20% of total energy consumed in the EU from renewable sources by 2020,

B.   whereas that represents a major step towards a sustainable European energy policy that will help to secure energy supply and affordable, competitive energy from renewable sources,

C.   whereas, in its resolution of 14 December 2006 on sustainable, competitive and secure energy, Parliament called for ambitious, binding, sectoral targets, aiming for 25% of energy from renewable sources in the primary energy sector by 2020 and proposing a road map for achieving a 50% share of renewables by 2040,

D.   whereas renewable sources, including hydropower, have historically played a significant role in European electricity supply,

E.   whereas, in the context of limiting the increase in average world temperatures to a maximum of 2ºC, renewable energies, energy efficiency measures and energy research must be boosted,

F.   whereas directives to promote renewable sources of energy in the field of electricity have resulted in, or boosted, sustainable developments in the Member States,

G.   whereas existing directives to promote renewable sources of energy were adopted under the co-decision procedure, often on the basis of Article 175(1) of the EC Treaty,

H.   whereas EU industries in the renewable energy sector are global market leaders thanks to their investment in research and thus make an important contribution to job creation and EU competitiveness, objectives set out in the Lisbon Strategy,

I.   whereas no legal provisions exist on heating and cooling from renewable sources of energy,

J.   whereas renewable sources of energy are a key element in a sustainable energy mix, contributing to:

   a) reduced import dependency and diversification of the fuel mix,
   b) lower CO2 and other emissions,
   c) the development of new innovative technologies,
   d) employment and regional development opportunities,

K.   whereas market developments in renewable energies vary enormously from one Member State to another, not only because of differences in potential, but also because of different, and in some cases inadequate, political and legal framework conditions, as well as excessive administrative obstacles to project implementation in many cases,

L.   whereas geological, hydrological and climatic conditions vary greatly in the Member States and whereas the potential for developing renewable energies therefore varies greatly from one Member State to another,

M.   whereas achieving at least a 20% energy efficiency improvement by 2020 is essential to successfully achieving the 20% renewables target,

N.   whereas the promotion of a renewable energy market will help achieve the revised Lisbon objectives by increasing employment and the research and innovation efforts of the Member States and of the EU,

O.   whereas greater use should be made of the EU's research and technology programmes to encourage the development of renewable energy technologies, as is reflected in the FP7 Programme and whereas, at the same time, the existing technological advantage and export potential of European enterprises should be maintained and promoted,

P.   whereas transport fuels are a substantial and growing source of CO2 emissions as well as being the main cause of air pollution in urban centres,

Q.   whereas sustainable solutions to the energy challenges are to be achieved through increased use of renewables, greater improvements in energy efficiency, energy savings and technological innovations in the climate-friendly use of local energy sources,

R.   whereas the heating and cooling sector offers a unique opportunity to use not only renewables but also surplus heat derived from electricity production, industry and waste incineration and thereby to reduce the use of fossil fuels and limit CO2 emissions,

S.   whereas it is indispensable both to ensure that Union citizens have a secure, high-quality supply of energy and to protect the environment, in accordance with public service and universal service obligations,

T.   whereas implementation of the existing Community legal framework for the energy sector is unsatisfactory, in particular in the case of renewables, a state of affairs which does not maintain the long-term confidence of investors,

U.   whereas lengthy authorisation procedures for renewable energy generation projects, transmission lines and distribution networks are a major obstacle to the rapid development of renewable sources,

V.   whereas the lack of clear environmental and social safeguards, especially in the case of biofuels, could lead to significant negative effects, such as an increase in tropical deforestation, without any significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,

W.   whereas efforts to tackle climate change should not jeopardise efforts to protect biodiversity and ecosystems,

1.  Calls on the Commission to present by the end of 2007 at the latest a proposal for a renewable energy legislative framework to be adopted by co-decision on the basis of Article 175(1) of the EC Treaty; stresses that this legislative framework should maintain existing legislation for the renewable electricity and biofuels sectors, but must be strengthened and improved and accompanied by ambitious legislation on increasing the share of renewable energy for heating and cooling; urges the Commission to propose a sectoral approach within the legislative framework, setting clear and realistic binding targets for the electricity, transport and heating and cooling sectors;

2.  Urges the Commission in its forthcoming proposal for revision of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), to ensure the better internalisation of the external cost of energy production through the auctioning of ETS credits, so as to create a level playing field for renewable energies and to ensure a fair price for carbon;

3.  Believes that renewable energy sources are abundant on our planet and that the challenge is to extract energy from them; recommends that the revenues generated from ETS auctioning and research funds should be used for research into renewable sources of energy, including promising and challenging sources, such as osmosis energy, tidal energy, wave energy, concentrated solar power, high altitude wind power, laddermill energy and algae fuel technology;

Boosting Renewables

4.  Emphasises the importance of creating and implementing Renewables Action Plans (RAPs) at Community and national levels and stresses that these should serve to contribute to a real Common European Energy Policy;

5.  Calls for sectoral targets to be incorporated into the RAPs to encourage investment, innovation and research in all sectors; notes that, where technological development or questions of cost efficiency call for adjustment of realistic sector targets, this could be done on review of the RAPs on a regular basis with account being taken of the need for stability in the investment framework;

6.  Calls for strategic environmental impact assessment of RAPs and considers that RAPs should specifically address the need to reconcile renewable energy production with other environmental concerns (sustainable forest management, biodiversity, preventing soil degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and so on);

7.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to reach agreement as soon as possible on assigning the 20% renewables target, taking into account cost-effectiveness and sectoral analyses of the potential in each country, in such a way as ensures an active commitment from all Member States; believes that, despite the fact that some Member States are lagging behind in their contributions to current EU measures on renewables, all Member States should fulfil their commitments to increase their share of renewables, in proportion to their potential and the contributions they have already made;

8.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the forthcoming legislative proposal concerning renewable energies contains strong measures for the promotion of renewable electricity, with the aim of increasing its share in the EU from the present level to at least double that amount by 2020;

9.  Regrets that regional and local authorities in the EU continue to show too little interest in harnessing and using renewable energy sources;

10.  Considers that each Member State must be free to choose the most appropriate renewable energy sources given the differences in potential to develop certain renewable energies which are inherent in the geological, hydrological and climatic conditions in the Member States; insists, however, that the target of 20% of energy from renewables means the contribution from renewable energy sources, not other low-carbon energy sources;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to contribute to the creation of a market environment that is favourable to renewables in that it actively promotes the decentralised production and use of this type of energy;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include energy efficiency scenarios in all RAPs while recognising that energy efficiency is not a renewable energy source;

13.  Recalls that renewable energy and energy efficiency are among the best ways to shield both consumers and industry from the dual effects of increased energy imports and rising fuel costs; insists that the development of a Common European Energy Policy must not create any new social barriers and that energy prices must be transparent and competitive when pursuing the renewables target;

14.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that Community legislation relating to renewable energy and RAPs includes criteria and provisions to avert conflicts between different uses of biomass;

15.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that it has the necessary means and resources to assess the RAPs and to monitor their effective implementation, having due regard for the principle of subsidiarity; recommends that the future legislative framework for renewables should expressly confer on the Commission power and give it the necessary means to reject or accept any RAPs in part or in full; believes that the Commission must ensure that the individual targets in the legislative framework amount to an agreed, binding, EU target;

16.  Calls for milestones to be included in the RAPs; therefore, urges the Commission to include in its proposal a clear mid-term target for the proportion of energy to be derived from renewable energy sources so as to avoid delays in the Member States and for reviews of the RAPs to be carried out every three years starting from the date of entry into force of the proposal, so that the Commission can take action before 2020 if any Member State is not fulfilling its obligations; stresses that Member States which fail to honour their commitments must suffer the consequences;

17.  Deplores the fact that the EU target of a 12 % renewable energy contribution to the EU energy mix by 2010 will, in all likelihood, not be met;

18.  Notes that the Commission's current statistical methodology underestimates the contribution of wind and solar power to electricity production and therefore urges the Commission to base its calculations on final energy consumption and to develop a statistical methodology that does not distort competition between the various energy technologies;

Internal Market and the grid infrastructure

19.  Regrets that the European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007 did not call sufficiently strongly for completion of the internal energy market; believes that it is indispensable that renewables are rapidly integrated into the internal energy market; believes it is necessary to ensure equal conditions in every Member States in order for a real internal market for energy to develop;

20.  Finds that transparent, fair and priority access to the grids is an essential precondition for the successful integration and expansion of electricity generation from renewable sources and that grid access and planning procedures should be further simplified and harmonised, with account being taken of the development of renewable technologies and its intermittent flow of energy so as not to destabilise the national grids;

21.  Calls for increased efforts in each Member State to reduce administrative burdens and simplify authorisation procedures including the possibility to create a one-stop shop in order to facilitate the authorisation of renewables; calls on the Commission to establish minimum requirements for the removal of administrative barriers, including streamlined procedures;

22.  Calls for investment in additional, flexible, intelligent grid infrastructure and grid management in order to improve system operation, enhance security of supply, reduce consumer costs and improve access to and the generation of renewable energy sources; draws attention to the need to speed up approval procedures and streamline legal procedures;

23.  Calls for increased efforts to be made to coordinate Europe planning procedures, sites for renewables and proper grid interconnections;

24.  Believes that the promotion of renewables must be accompanied by increased cooperation between national transmission system operators (TSOs) on grid planning and cross-border trade issues in order to successfully integrate fluctuating energy sources;

25.  Stresses the enormous development potential of offshore wind energy and the significant contribution it could make to Europe's independence from energy imports and to climate protection, while pointing out that enormous efforts are still needed to fully develop this potential; therefore calls on the Commission to draw up an offshore wind energy action plan, embodying an efficient European approach to offshore technology and promoting stronger interconnections;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to contribute to the creation of a favourable market environment for renewable energy, which should include the abolition of perverse subsidies and the proactive use of public procurement within the EU to help reduce the cost of both energy efficient and renewable technologies;

27.  Believes that an effective and efficient harmonised support scheme drawing on best practices in the Member States should be the long-term objective in Europe in order to ensure the most efficient use of renewable energy technologies; believes that national support schemes would nevertheless be needed to maintain investor confidence, as many Member States are only now beginning larger-scale investments in renewables and as the internal energy market is not yet completed; points out that the aim of existing policies to support renewable energy sources is to ensure that they achieve long-term viability and compete in the internal energy market;

28.  Recalls that ensuring a broad energy mix also within renewable energies may enable the potential of local energy resources to be better utilised and contribute to European innovation, competitiveness and security of supply by ensuring that technologies with long-term potential are not squeezed out of the market prematurely;

29.  Regrets the findings of certain studies that suggest that the EU energy policies on renewables and combating climate change are poorly reflected in the draft spending plans for the Structural Funds and the cohesion funds; calls on the Commission to develop guidelines that ensure systematic support for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency in each Member State and urges the Member States and regional authorities to take full advantage of the possibility of applying the EU's financial instruments for the development and expansion of renewable energy projects;

30.  Commends those Member States which have modified, introduced or are introducing support schemes or have set targets for marine energy; recognises the very significant role played by countries that have provided a stable framework for investment in marine energy projects in reducing the cost of this technology and calls on the Commission and all Member States concerned to follow suit;

31.  Notes the impetus that has been given to concentrating solar power technology in Europe thanks to appropriately chosen market support schemes and European research funding, and expects southern Member States in particular to encourage technological development and reduce the cost of concentrating solar power;

32.  Calls for a review of existing Community legislation that hinders the development of the EU's energy policy priorities, including the future development of large scale tidal projects;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that renewables are given high priority in the sustained efforts that are to be made to maximise the use of EU research and technology development programmes; urges the Member States to agree a strategy for increasing the budget for energy research; suggests that this goal be pursued on revision of the 2007-2013 budget;

34.  Welcomes the support from the European Investment Bank for renewable energy sources in the form of preferential loans and urges the Commission and Member States to support such types of funding and encourage them in the public and private sector where there is an interest in the leverage of funds for the development of renewable energy sources;

35.  Urges regional authorities, local authorities and NGOs to avail themselves of funding under FP7, the Structural Funds and the CIP/IEE (Intelligent Energy Europe), which will stimulate research, promote renewable energy technologies, the use of bio-fuels and the development of new modes of energy transport and storage designed to reduce energy losses; furthermore, supports the EURENEW initiative for treaty provisions on renewable energy;

36.  Points out that further research and development is needed into the storage of energy produced from renewable sources, following the example of hydrogen technology; stresses that, to this end, administrative provisions and approval procedures must be simplified and existing obstacles overcome;

Heating and Cooling

37.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any proposal for a framework directive for renewables contains strong measures for the promotion of renewable heating and cooling with the aim of increasing its share in the EU from the present level of approximately 10% to at least double that amount by 2020; encourages the Commission to propose innovative solutions to enable all relevant technologies to achieve a high degree of market penetration, such as promoting systematic studies of renewable solutions or supply through heat networks for new buildings and renovations of buildings above a surface area threshold and encourage the reduction of administrative barriers and awareness-raising campaigns;

38.  Recalls that district heating and cooling could offer an essential infrastructure for taking full advantage of renewable energies and recalls the need to stimulate the integration of renewable energy sources into existing district heating networks, since biomass and other renewable energy sources can be efficiently deployed in combination with combined heat and power and the use of surplus heating;

39.  Calls on the Commission to speed up the widespread adoption in all Member States of best practice regulations making it compulsory, at least where existing buildings are substantially renovated and new buildings are built, for a minimum proportion of the heating requirement to be met from renewable sources, as it already is in a growing number of regions and municipalities;

40.  Recalls that 40% of all EU energy is used in buildings and that there is a huge potential to reduce this consumption so that renewable energies might cover all energy needs in this sector; notes the progress made in the energy design and bio-construction of new buildings where the integration of solar architecture, insulation and renewable energies is leading to low energy, passive energy and even plus energy houses (those which produce more energy over a year than they consume); asks the Commission to develop by the end of 2007 an implementation programme for the large scale deployment of passive and net positive energy houses and buildings in the EU;

41.  Welcomes Parliament's switch to renewables for its electricity uses and urges the other EU institutions to do the same;

42.  Notes that the available statistics on the energy consumption for heating and for cooling purposes are not sufficiently reliable, comparable and transparent, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop procedures so as to improve the statistics for these sectors;

43.  Considers that existing boilers offer great scope for the gradual introduction of renewable energy sources; calls on the Commission, before submitting its proposals, to assess the various options, such as a biofuel mix or thermal solar energy;

Transport and biofuels

44.  Calls for the development of a comprehensive, environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable transport policy that is in line with the objectives of Community environmental, climate-related and competition policies, as well as social and regional objectives, in which sustainably produced biofuels may play a role, and also through changes of lifestyle, traffic reduction, and structural measures, such as urban and regional planning; urges the Member States to set ambitious goals regarding the use of renewable energy sources for public transport; calls for the principle of decoupling growth in transport from economic growth and for a stronger commitment to cleaner modes of transport, demand management and a gradual rise in fuel efficiency standards in the transport sector;

45.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal for promoting biofuels and other renewable energies for transport by means of imposing a binding target of 10%, provided that it can be proved that such fuels are produced in a sustainable way; notes the importance of second and third-generation biofuels becoming commercially available and calls for technological progress to be accelerated in this field; stresses that the sustainable use of biofuels would reduce oil dependency and CO2 emissions in the transport sector; however, finds that a fair balance between food and energy production should be sought;

46.  Believes that the use of hydrogen and electricity-powered cars will play an important role in the future and that hybrid cars are an interim step towards electro-mobility; calls on the Commission to include hybrid electric cars in the Strategic EU Energy Technology plan; asks Member States to support the purchase of low CO2 emission cars through fiscal incentives;

47.  Calls on the Commission to submit measures to promote other alternative fuels that will help to cut emissions from the transport sector, in line with the Action Plan for alternative fuels submitted in 2001, and to examine the possibility of promoting synthetic fuels which can help to diversify energy supply, improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions;

48.  Emphasises that the production of more fuel-efficient cars continues to be the best way of reducing CO2 emissions and oil consumption per vehicle and is concerned that the message that the Community sends to the car industry should be less focused on the demand for biofuels and more focussed on the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles; welcomes, however, the proposal for the revision of the Fuel Quality Directive, which aims to reduce the climate change effect of transport fuels on a well-to-wheel basis in order to improve air quality, promote bioethanol and petrol mixes and allow for higher levels of blending, provided that strong safeguards are put in place to ensure that these fuels are produced in a sustainable way;

49.  Calls on the Commission to develop a mandatory, comprehensive certification scheme, applicable to biofuels both produced within and imported into the EU; believes that the certification criteria should be designed to ensure that the production of biofuels provides significant greenhouse gas savings over the whole life cycle when compared to the conventional fuels they replace and do not cause, directly or indirectly, a loss in biodiversity and water resources, any reduction in carbon stocks through land use change or social problems such as rising food prices and the displacement of people;

50.  Calls on the Commission to seek cooperation with the WTO and similar international organisations in order to secure international acceptance of specific sustainability criteria and the certification system, and thus promote the most sustainable means of production of biofuels worldwide and create a level playing field for all;

51.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that the EU's bilateral agreements with third countries address trade and investment in renewable energy, include provisions concerning international recognised social compatibility and promote certification so as to prevent environmental dumping; points out that in the field of renewable energy sources the EU also has a responsibility to enable developing countries to develop climate-friendly technologies and to facilitate access to European markets; calls on the Commission to develop innovative mechanisms to fund renewable energy technologies and the transfer of know-how, particularly in the developing world;

52.  Recognises that tax incentives are an important instrument for changing consumer choice from fossil fuels to biofuels and encourages the Member States to consider tax incentive that makes biofuels the economically rational choice; believes, however, that biofuels that do not fulfil sustainability criteria should not be eligible for subsidies or tax exemptions and should not count towards achievement of the biofuels target;

53.  Urges the Commission to ensure that fossil fuels comply with the same requirements as those imposed on biofuels production, including certification systems, greenhouse gas reduction and full cycle analysis, without forgetting the environmental impact of facilities for the extraction and transport of hydrocarbons, illegal discharges at sea and maritime accidents;

54.  Believes that the global effects of biofuels production should be closely monitored and such monitoring used for periodic reviews of the Community's policy and targets;

55.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to devote more effort to the conversion of biomass to gas, as biomass could be used as source material with which to produce synthetic liquid fuels (GTL) for use in vehicles;

56.  Regrets that the poorest developing countries will be hit earliest and hardest by climate change, even though they have contributed little to the causes of the problem; believes that the European Union can play an important role through the transfer of technology to developing countries;

57.  Urges the Member States to map out potential renewable energy sources in their different regions with a view to exploiting the capacities of each country to the full and thus encouraging the regions to make use of renewable energy sources;

58.  Asks Member States, regions and local authorities to ensure that clear information promoting the technological aspects of photovoltaic electrical generation as well as technical and practical information concerning bio-fuels, biomass, wind, water and geothermal energy and energy efficiency are made available to the general public and socio-economic actors along with information on the financial incentives that are available;

59.  Points out that forest biomass used for energy or for raw materials must be managed according to internationally recognised, high standards of sustainability; emphasises that contributions and commitments from the forest-based sector should be recognised and supported by policies which are conducive to better economic, environmental and social performance;

60.  Urges Member States to seek and compare best practices in the promotion of biomass and biofuel production and use by means of the open method of coordination;

61.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0603.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0604.
(3) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 273.
(4) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 112.
(5) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 115.
(6) OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 599.
(7) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 442.
(8) OJ C 91 E, 15.4.2004, p. 628.
(9) OJ C 61 E, 10.3.2004, p. 261.
(10) OJ C 65 E, 14.3.2002, p. 113.

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