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Mr Christos Papoutsis, Member of the European Commission responsible for Energy, Seminar on "Viable policies for sustainable development: which role for electricity"
 
 


Brussels, 18 June 1997


Main Points

(...) "Our joint efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are of critical importance as we prepare for the Kyoto conference on Climate Change. I very much hope that, our shared analysis will contribute to the development of policies and measures, for implementing the outcome of the Kyoto negotiations.

The nature of the challenge of climate change, and the types of measures that will be needed require cooperation between all the economic actors." (...)

(...) "In order to face the climate change challenge, we need to have the cooperation of the electricity industry.

The promotion of renewable energy sources is a major priority. Renewable energy should play a much bigger role in our energy future.

I hope you will work with us towards the achievement of a substantial penetration of renewables in the electricity production mix." (...)

(...) "An important area for action by the electricity industry is that of promoting energy efficiency and energy saving.There is still much scope for emission reduction in this field." (...)

Full Text

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to open today the last of a series of workshops jointly organised by the Commission and Eurelectric. I believe this has so far been a successful effort of cooperation in addressing the role of electricity in sustainable development.

Our joint efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are of critical importance as we prepare for the Kyoto conference on Climate Change. I very much hope that, our shared analysis will contribute to the development of policies and measures, for implementing the outcome of the Kyoto negotiations.

The nature of the challenge of climate change, and the types of measures that will be needed require cooperation between all the economic actors.

We also need to develop broad consensus on the measures needed, both inside, and outside the political institutions.

I hope we can continue to work together, towards this objective, in the cooperative spirit which was evident in the preparation of these seminars and of the report by Professor Chesshire.

The new situation in the internal electricity market is an important development. The report addresses this critical policy dimension. It identifies some key differences between the policy objective of developing the internal market, and that of meeting the climate change challenge. I do not consider these differences to be a basic contradiction.

The debates which have taken place in the various seminars have confirmed that there is complimentarity between the two objectives. We need to develop the policy guidance, to ensure that the developing market structures reinforce our ambition to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

But in order to face the climate change challenge, we need to have the cooperation of the electricity industry.

The promotion of renewable energy sources is a major priority. Renewable energy should play a much bigger role in our energy future.

I hope you will work with us towards the achievement of a substantial penetration of renewables in the electricity production mix.

The Commission's proposal, which suggested doubling the share of renewables in overall energy consumption to 12% by 2010, has so far had widespread support. How much can you contribute to this objective? Can we, until 2010, at least double electricity production from renewables? I hope you can agree that we should.

Both the public and private sector must make a contribution towards achieving the objective of a higher renewables penetration. Public policy and electricity regulation will need to provide the complimentary framework to the developing market structures. So that markets can respond to new products and services based on renewables. Public policy might also need to look to a new ranking of priorities in implementing the environmental agenda.

Another important area for action by the electricity industry is that of promoting energy efficiency and energy saving.There is still much scope for emission reduction in this field.

We all have to take our responsibilities seriously in response to the threat that climate change poses to our society. We need imaginative thinking.

There are many interesting ideas emerging in the report prepared for this seminar. Your reflections today will complete the process, which I hope will provide a comprehensive response for electricity's contribution to sustainable development.

And, there is no doubt, that we need to define such a response, in the face of the challenge of Climate Change.

In mid May the Commission presented to the Council and Parliament a Communication on Energy and Climate Change. We tried, in that document, to highlight the challenge to the energy sector, and in particular, to identify the contribution the electricity supply industry can make.

In bringing this Communication forward I was responding to the fact that climate change is a subject of deep concern to European citizens. They expect us to show a strong political will to respond to the need of reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

To achieve the 15% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2010, a negotiating position adopted by the Environment Council in March last, the Union will require major energy policy decisions. We will need to focus on reducing energy intensity, in particular through better energy management and energy saving. We must also reduce carbon intensity by promoting renewable energy sources.

I would like to underline again that the role of the electricity supply industry will be paramount in developing responses to these challenges.

The Council's response to this Communication was very encouraging. It invited the Commission to undertake five main actions:

Firstly, to complete the analysis to support an action programme for emission reduction in the energy field.

Secondly, to prepare a Communication on an action programme, in order to support Member States in achieving their emission reduction objectives after Kyoto.

Thirdly, to prepare a Community strategy for the promotion of renewable energy sources.

Fourthly, to prepare a strategy for increased use of Combined Heat and power; and

Finally, to reinforce the dialogue with economic actors on the possibilities of improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon intensity.

In undertaking these actions, we look forward to cooperation from the electricity industry. And we are encouraged by the cooperation we have had so far with Eurelectric, under Mr. Ketting's leadership.

Each of us will leave this conference with an ambitious programme of action to undertake. We for our part will have the task of putting together a policy programme, which will support the Community Institutions in developing the policy strategy.

Debates will take place in the Council, the Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. It is essential that this programme of policy action reflects the reality of our citizens' hopes and ambitions.

In preparing the Community's policy response, we in energy will work with other colleagues in the Commission. In particular we will continue our close cooperation with our colleagues in Environment Policy.

One of the immediate uses of our work today will be to contribute to the overall Communication my colleague Mrs Bjerregaard wants to present to the Commission in the coming months.

This will be a document outlining our strategy towards achieving the Kyoto objectives in all the necessary fields of action.

I would like to thank all of you who have agreed to participate as panellists here today. We look forward to your ideas as to how we can make progress.

This afternoon Mr Weijers will chair the second round table with Members of the European Parliament and Eurelectric. Mr Weijers as president of the Council, and I representing the Commission, have addressed the energy dimension of climate change both at the IEA Ministerial in Paris on 23 May, and again at the Energy Council on 27 May.

Together we have been concerned for some time of the need to develop specifically an energy sector response to the climate change challenge.

The recent Energy Council conclusions provide the basis for this, as we prepare both for the Kyoto conference and the implementation of its conclusions.

Minister Gobbels cannot be with us today, but Mr Bartocci, Director General for Energy in Luxembourg will confirm the commitment of the incoming Luxembourg Presidency's to continuing developing the energy policy response to climate change.

I would now like to ask Professor Chesshire and Dr Skea to present their report, in order to launch the discussions.

I welcome the dialogue that we have started with Eurelectric on viable policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to the results of today's discussions.




SPEECH/97/138

 

 

 
Ημ. Έκδοσης:18/06/1997 Share Εκτύπωση
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