9

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Policy area
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Date

Clean energy in the European Union

11-01-2018

In November 2016, the Commission adopted the clean energy package, of eight legislative proposals on energy efficiency, renewables, electricity markets and governance. During the January plenary session, Parliament will vote on three reports relating to the package: a revised energy efficiency directive, a recast directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources, and a new regulation on governance of the energy union. The aim is to gain a mandate for trilogue negotiations on all three.

In November 2016, the Commission adopted the clean energy package, of eight legislative proposals on energy efficiency, renewables, electricity markets and governance. During the January plenary session, Parliament will vote on three reports relating to the package: a revised energy efficiency directive, a recast directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources, and a new regulation on governance of the energy union. The aim is to gain a mandate for trilogue negotiations on all three.

Research for REGI Committee - Financial instruments for energy efficiency and renewable energy

01-09-2017

This study analyses ESIF financial instruments for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and their implementation. The results suggest that, because implementation is highly context-dependent, transferability of lessons and good practice is limited. EE and RES FIs require specialist support and are constrained by operational programme lifecycles. More could be done to measure the impact of EE and RES FIs, though assessing the performance of both low carbon policies and financial instruments ...

This study analyses ESIF financial instruments for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and their implementation. The results suggest that, because implementation is highly context-dependent, transferability of lessons and good practice is limited. EE and RES FIs require specialist support and are constrained by operational programme lifecycles. More could be done to measure the impact of EE and RES FIs, though assessing the performance of both low carbon policies and financial instruments is highly challenging.

External author

Fiona Wishlade, Rona Michie, Phil Vernon

Ten more technologies which could change our lives

14-07-2017

In 2015, the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) broke new ground with its publication 'Ten technologies which could change our lives – potential impacts and policy implications', with each chapter highlighting a particular technology, its promises and potential negative consequences, and the role that the European Parliament could and should play in shaping these developments. This new study continues this work, presenting ten additional technologies ...

In 2015, the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) broke new ground with its publication 'Ten technologies which could change our lives – potential impacts and policy implications', with each chapter highlighting a particular technology, its promises and potential negative consequences, and the role that the European Parliament could and should play in shaping these developments. This new study continues this work, presenting ten additional technologies that will increasingly require the attention of policy-makers. The topics for the current study have been chosen to reflect the wide range of topics that the Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel has decided to focus upon for the eighth parliamentary term (2014-2019). The aim of the publication is not only to draw attention to these ten particular technologies, but also to promote further reflection about other technological developments that may still be at an early stage but that could, in a similar way, massively impact our lives in the short- or longer-term future.

Use of energy from renewable sources

26-06-2017

Despite its considerable length and a rather large number of options (over 30), the IA report could have delivered a more coherent, comprehensive, and persuasive analysis. The internal logic of the report and the arrangement of options is at times hard to understand because the options are linked to challenges rather than to clearly defined problems and objectives. Furthermore, the absence of preferred options makes it difficult to assess the usefulness of the impact assessment in informing the political ...

Despite its considerable length and a rather large number of options (over 30), the IA report could have delivered a more coherent, comprehensive, and persuasive analysis. The internal logic of the report and the arrangement of options is at times hard to understand because the options are linked to challenges rather than to clearly defined problems and objectives. Furthermore, the absence of preferred options makes it difficult to assess the usefulness of the impact assessment in informing the political decisions underpinning the legislative proposal. The use of different models, which are by the Commission's own admittance very difficult to compare, may have led to a certain lack of coherence in the assessment of the impacts. The proportionality of proposed measures is not always clearly visible compared with the evidence provided by the models used in the assessment. Overall, given the number of considerable shortcomings and the fact that the assessment twice received a negative opinion from the RSB, one might have expected a better argumentation for the Commission's decision to proceed with the proposal.

Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities

19-01-2017

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Although primarily based on activities carried out, in some form, for centuries or millennia (such as farming, fisheries or forestry), the bioeconomy emerged in the past decade as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a number of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about ...

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Although primarily based on activities carried out, in some form, for centuries or millennia (such as farming, fisheries or forestry), the bioeconomy emerged in the past decade as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a number of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about €2 trillion and employ between 17 and 19 million people. They use almost three quarters of the EU land area. A stronger bioeconomy could trigger growth and jobs, and reduce dependency on imports. It could contribute to optimising the use of biological resources, which remain finite although they are renewable. However, it could also create competition between uses and technologies at various levels. Besides, the amount of available biomass remains disputed. A bioeconomy could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health. However, it could also trigger new greenhouse gas emissions and induce adverse impacts on the environment. The EU policy framework for the bioeconomy is spread across a number of policies (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, climate, circular economy and research). Although a bioeconomy strategy from 2012 aims to ensure policy coherence, inconsistencies remain. The EU provides funding to innovative bioeconomy activities through the framework programme for research (Horizon 2020) and a range of other instruments. The European Parliament has been supportive of the bioeconomy strategy, while highlighting the need for sustainability and policy coherence.

Policies of the European Union with its Mediterranean Partners for the Management and Use of Natural and Renewable Resources: Towards Green Growth in the Mediterranean

25-04-2014

After drawing up an inventory of the energy and water resources of the South and East Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs) and presenting their political, economic and social challenges, this report takes stock of the European neighbourhood policies conducted following the Arab revolutions in these countries and offers a forward-looking vision in this area for the years to come. Despite some success the initiatives led by the European Union in respect of its neighbourhood policy with the SEMCs in the ...

After drawing up an inventory of the energy and water resources of the South and East Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs) and presenting their political, economic and social challenges, this report takes stock of the European neighbourhood policies conducted following the Arab revolutions in these countries and offers a forward-looking vision in this area for the years to come. Despite some success the initiatives led by the European Union in respect of its neighbourhood policy with the SEMCs in the area of the management of natural resources are not very effective owing to the lack of a shared vision between the countries in the region and a lack of strong political will on the part of the European Union. However, sustainable management of the energy potential and natural resources of the SEMCs could become the cornerstone of inclusive green growth in these countries. A paradigm shift in Euro-Mediterranean relations therefore needs to take place in order to respond to the desire for economic and social change expressed by the populations following the 'Arab Spring'. Two aspects in particular must be addressed: support for greater energy efficiency and integrated management of natural resources, particularly water resources.

External author

Caroline ORJEBIN-YOUSFAOUI (IPEMED, France)

Recycling Agricultural, Forestry & Food Wastes and Residues for Sustainable Bioenergy and Biomaterials (Part of the Project 'Technology Options for Feeding 10 Billion People')

15-07-2013

The purpose of this study is to examine and review biorefinery technology options that exist to convert biomass in the form of agricultural crop and forestry residues and waste from the whole food chain into biomaterials and bioenergy. It assesses the technological options, including the sustainability of the processes involved. The study forms part of a bigger project commissioned by the European Parliament’s STOA (‘Science and Technology Options Assessment’) office under the heading of ‘Technology ...

The purpose of this study is to examine and review biorefinery technology options that exist to convert biomass in the form of agricultural crop and forestry residues and waste from the whole food chain into biomaterials and bioenergy. It assesses the technological options, including the sustainability of the processes involved. The study forms part of a bigger project commissioned by the European Parliament’s STOA (‘Science and Technology Options Assessment’) office under the heading of ‘Technology options for feeding 10 billion people’. Advanced biofuels and innovative bio-based pathways based on wastes and residues show considerable potential and should be further developed especially as Europe is already seen by some as having a lead in relevant technologies. However, there are also considerable uncertainties for investors and indeed all market participants and thus a major task is to ensure good transparency and better information concerning the availabilities of the waste and residue streams, the opportunities for processing, and the benefits to consumers. In addition, because, by definition, bio-based economic developments necessarily interact with ecosystems, there has to be visible assurance that the bio-products are indeed environmentally preferable with respect to GHG emissions, water, soil and biodiversity compared with their fossil-based counterparts. The conclusion is thus encouragement should be given to this sector, but with enhanced transparency of all aspects of its development, and with equally strong sustainability safeguards.

External author

Bettina Kretschmer (Project Leader), Claire Smith, Emma Watkins, Ben Allen, Allan Buckwell, Jane Desbarats and Daniel Kieve

The EU and its Eastern Partners : Energy Needs and Future Prospects

27-02-2012

This study contains an overview of the energy sectors of the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and an analysis of current and potential energy cooperation with the EU and within the region. In order to strengthen security of supply and foster competition, the infrastructure priorities should be the completion of a network of gas and electricity interconnectors with and within the EaP region, and the extension of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline. In parallel, one should revive the goal of achieving ...

This study contains an overview of the energy sectors of the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and an analysis of current and potential energy cooperation with the EU and within the region. In order to strengthen security of supply and foster competition, the infrastructure priorities should be the completion of a network of gas and electricity interconnectors with and within the EaP region, and the extension of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline. In parallel, one should revive the goal of achieving a binding legal framework for the secure transit of energy in the region involving all relevant parties, including Russia. Existing horizontal areas of cooperation, in particular energy efficiency, lowering import dependence, and renewable energy, are clearly justified. Two new areas should be added, namely the production of unconventional fossil fuels, and the adoption of alternative fuels in transport. In terms of framework conditions, convergence towards the EU Acquis faces strong challenges from both domestic and foreign interest groups in several EaP countries. The main focus should be on those measures most likely to enhance security of supply in each country. Also, the coherence between the various existing EU instruments for regional cooperation should be strengthened.

External author

HUNTER CHRISTIE Edward (PAN-EUROPEAN NETWORK, TURKU SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS, FINLAND), LUSSAC Samuel (CENTRE EMILE DURKHEIM, UNIVERSITY OF BORDEAUX, FRANCE) and WOLCZUK Kataryna (CENTRE FOR EASTERN EUROPEAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, UK)

Environmental impacts and social acceptance of wind power

11-05-2011

Over the coming decades, rapid wind power development is planned in the EU. However, wind farms often face strong opposition at a local level.

Over the coming decades, rapid wind power development is planned in the EU. However, wind farms often face strong opposition at a local level.

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