The new Framework Directive on Renewable Energy must go beyond existing legislation, not move back

Brussels, 14 May 2007 - In its 1st Round Table of a cycle of 7 debates which will run from May until December 2007, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) presented its views on the new Energy Package which was presented by the European Commission in January 2007.

EPIA stressed that the future Framework Directive on Renewable Energy should include mandatory sector specific targets (electricity, cooling & heating and transport) at national level for renewables, and ensure that Member States respect these targets.

The Renewable Energy Roadmap presented in the European Commission's energy package sets a target of 20% of energy from renewable energy sources by 2020 and foresees the proposal of a new framework Directive on Renewable Energy Sources in October 2007.

By introducing the RES-Electricity directive in 2001 the European Union has stimulated the adoption of support mechanisms to develop renewable energies. Experience shows that where appropriate measures have been implemented (e.g. Germany or Spain), the solar electricity market has developed significantly, leading to considerable investment in both local industry and research. Other Member States have recently taken similar steps and we will soon see positive effects in these national markets. With appropriate policies in place, solar electricity could provide electricity to 7 million European Families in 2010.

In conclusion to the 1st Round-table, Murray Cameron, EPIA Vice-President stressed that "If we want Europe to become leader in the development of solar electricity, the new legislation should be more ambitious than the existing (legislation) one. A new Framework Directive must, at the very least, establish the rules set by the current RES-electricity directive".

EPIA therefore believes that the future Framework Directive on Renewable Energies sources should:

- Impose mandatory sector specific targets for Member States, who commit themselves to respecting these targets.

- Improve the existing legislation, namely the RES-electricity Directive, EC/2001/77. The new legislation should not include harmonisation of support schemes. Feed-in tariffs have proved to be the only effective instrument to support PV while green certificates are inappropriate for this small form of decentralised energy.

- Impose an effective simplification of administrative procedures, in particular, only a single authorisation should be required in order to install and operate a power plant using renewable energy sources.

- Ensure fair grid access. In this context the liberalisation of electricity markets may present an opportunity for the further development of photovoltaic markets.

With 115 Members drawn from across the entire solar electricity sector, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association represents over 95% of the European photovoltaic industry. EPIA represents the whole value-chain of the photovoltaic industry from silicon producers, cells and module manufacturers to system providers. EPIA's mission is to deliver a distinct and valuable service driven from the strength of a single European photovoltaic voice.

For more information:
Marie Latour
Communication officer
Tel.: + 32 2 400 10 13

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