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Procedure : 2008/2140(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0418/2008

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PV 18/11/2008 - 7.18
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Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - Strasbourg
Supporting early demonstration of sustainable power generation from fossil fuels

European Parliament resolution of 18 November 2008 on supporting early demonstration of sustainable power generation from fossil fuels (2008/2140(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 23 January 2008 entitled Supporting early demonstration of sustainable power generation from fossil fuels (COM(2008)0013) and the accompanying Commission staff working document on impact assessment (SEC(2008)0047),

−   having regard to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system of the Community (COM(2008)0016) and the accompanying Commission staff working document on impact assessment (SEC(2008)0052),

−   having regard to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directives 85/337/EEC, 96/61/EC, Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 (COM(2008)0018) and the accompanying Commission staff working document on impact assessment (SEC(2008)0054),

−   having regard to the Commission Communication of 22 November 2007 entitled A European strategic energy technology plan (SET-Plan): Towards a low carbon future (COM(2007)0723) and the accompanying Commission staff working documents on a technology map (SEC(2007)1510) and a capacities map (SEC(2007)1511),

−   having regard to the Commission Communication of 23 January 2008 entitled 20-20 by 2020: Europe's climate change opportunity (COM(2008)0030),

−   having regard to the Commission Communication of 10 January 2007 entitled An energy policy for Europe (COM(2007)0001),

−   having regard to Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 - 2013)(1),

–   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 opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0418/2008),

A.   whereas according to the latest scientific and technological findings, without massive research and development investment in other technologies, the use of fossil fuels within the EU will continue to be necessary for some decades to come to ensure security of energy supply,

B.   whereas coal is the only fossil fuel available in the EU which is capable of curbing the growing dependence on oil and gas imports from unstable third countries, and, as such, has strategic significance,

C.   whereas, while in many Member States coal plays a major role in the energy mix, coal-fired power stations require major modernisation and investment to reduce the generation of greenhouse gas emissions,

D.   whereas many Member States possess large coal reserves which, it is estimated, will last well into the next century,

E.   whereas the widespread use of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies, - in power stations and also on a long term basis in industrial sectors with large CO2 emissions, - could help in the attainment of ambitious EU climate targets beyond 2020, and whereas the use of these technologies complements energy efficiency efforts on the supply and demand side and in the field of renewable energies,

F.   whereas, in many growing economies in the world, energy production depends on coal and any climate policy achievements in those regions are very closely linked to the possibility of using coal with reduced emissions,

G.   whereas the use of CCS technologies in power stations from 2020 will only be possible if demonstration projects produce new and necessary developments in technology, and improvements in efficiency and economic viability whilst at the same time ensuring respect for the environment,

H.   whereas delays in constructing demonstration facilities cast into doubt the use of CCS technologies in power stations and thus the attainment of climate policy targets,

I.   whereas there is as yet no suitable and necessary legislative framework for the use of CCS technologies,

J.   whereas existing Community legislation in this area must be transposed as soon as possible by national or regional legislation and must be supplemented by new legislative proposals, particularly as regards the establishment of transport infrastructures,

K.   whereas the lack of legislation makes it difficult for undertakings to take investment decisions and for potential investors to act in the financial markets,

L.   whereas the construction of at least 12 demonstration facilities must be supported, and demonstration projects at EU level should be selected on the basis of whether they will provide the necessary findings as regards individual technologies and the various transport and storage options,

1.  Underlines that the aim of EU climate policies should be the worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;

2.  Recalls the 2005 Special Report on CCS by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which identified CCS as a promising technology for the rapid reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the potential to achieve a reduction of up to 55% by 2100;

3.  Recognises that the use of CCS technologies can contribute to attaining the EU`s stated climate targets after 2020; points out however that support for the use of CCS technologies complements the efforts being made in improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energies;

4.  Recalls the commitment by the European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007 to stimulate the construction and operation by 2015 of up to 12 demonstration facilities for sustainable fossil fuel technologies in commercial power generation;

5.  Stresses the need to ensure that national debates are held, and all specialists in the area are involved, in conveying the importance of the early demonstration of sustainable power generation from fossil fuels;

6.  Endorses the view that the construction of at least 12 demonstration facilities within the EU is necessary in order to achieve the desired use of CCS technologies in power stations and to secure CO2 storage from 2020; takes the view in this context that if possible, the demonstration of CCS technologies shall also be supported in other industrial facilities before 2020; points out that the demonstration of CCS processes in the capture, transport, and storage phases needs to establish whether CCS technologies can be used safely and whether they are a cost-effective solution to the problem of climate change;

7.  Views the further development and use of CCS technologies as a means of making progress towards achieving at the same time the objectives of security of supply, climate protection and competitiveness;

8.  Takes the view that in the light of the role played by fossil fuels in the energy mix of many countries worldwide, CCS technologies in the EU could, in addition to the efforts being made to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies, contribute to achieving security of supply and climate protection;

9.  Stresses that binding and strict criteria should be set for the long-term safety and permanence of storage sites;

10.  Considers that storage under the seabed can, in the event of accidents, endanger marine ecosystems;

11.  Takes the view that the measures unveiled by the Commission are not sufficient to provide the desired incentives for constructing at least 12 demonstration facilities by 2015;

12.  Calls on the Commission to produce a detailed assessment of the cost of, and the share of private and public funding in, each of the 12 demonstration facilities;

13.  Considers that a direct financial commitment is necessary in order to ensure that 12 demonstration facilities are constructed;

14.  Points out that investment decisions and capital acquisition on financial markets for demonstration facilities are made more difficult by the absence of a legislative framework, in particular at national and regional level, and by uncertainties about future movements in emission trading allowance prices;

15.  Takes the view that the time delay between the potential support from emissions trading from 2013, and the necessary planning and construction phase of demonstration facilities, can be overcome by making financial resources available;

16.  Proposes in this connection that the risk sharing finance facility resources held back after the adoption of the Seventh Framework Research Programme until the mid-term review, should be committed for CCS demonstration facilities so as to make resources available promptly to support these projects and, if possible, to supplement them with other funds in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, as envisaged by the Commission;

17.  Considers furthermore that, in connection with the EU emission trading scheme (EU ETS), incentives for CCS technology production should be increased, by allocating, within the EU ETS, allowances for anticipated CCS technology production with an increase of at least 25 % from 2013; considers further that such allowances should, however, be allocated at least two years prior to construction so that they can be traded; considers alternatively, that an allocation of 500 million emission trading allowances for the support of the projects within the EU should be envisaged; furthermore encourages the Member States to use proceeds from auctioning emission allowances in the framework of the EU ETS to support CCS technologies and the necessary infrastructure;

18.  Considers it imperative that at least the 12 demonstration facilities earmarked for assistance should cover all possible combinations of the three CCS technologies with the various energy sources and storage options and for these facilities to be sited with a view to maximum geographical spread across the EU;

19.  Strongly recommends that power station projects with a proposed minimum output of 180 MW, be included in the selection;

20.  Takes the view that the necessary basis for authorisation procedures for transport and storage should be created forthwith at national and regional level;

21.  Regards as necessary an additional EU commitment on facilitating development of the necessary transport infrastructure, and notes in this regard that the authorisation procedures in individual Member States for other transport infrastructures can last for years; in this connection points to the importance of shortening such procedures to ensure construction by 2020;

22.  Regards the use of structural fund resources for CCS demonstration facilities as an option only if individual regions have not yet committed the appropriations or submitted proposals for other long-term projects, and emphasises that the acceptance of climate protection efforts will decrease if appropriations for improving economic and social cohesion have to compete with climate protection measures;

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

(1) OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 1.

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