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Renewable energy goal based on GDP  

The European Commission will propose splitting part of a promised increase in renewable energy use by European Union member states according to each country’s national wealth, an EU official said on Thursday.

Tom Howes of the Commission’s energy division told a conference that Brussels would propose increasing the share of renewables such as wind and solar power in EU energy usage by 11.5 percent by 2020 compared to current levels.

Half of that target would be achieved by an across-the-board increase of 5.75 percent in each member state, regardless of current national levels. The other half would be divided up using a calculation based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“All member states will have to make significant contributions to the target,” Howes said. “No one can relax.”

The EU aims to have 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and is currently at 8.5 percent.

The proposal aims to share the burden of increasing environmentally friendly fuel sources across the 27-nation bloc, making allowance for the limited resources of poorer new ex-communist member states in central and eastern Europe.

On the other hand, wealthy Sweden, which already gets about 40 percent of its energy from renewables, would be required to do still more.

But a trading mechanism would be introduced as part of the legislation to enable countries to pay others to produce more renewables to meet those targets.

Luxembourg, a wealthy country with very few domestic renewable energy resources, could buy credits from another country with large amounts of wind production, for example.

EU leaders agreed in March to make the 20 percent renewable goal binding, but capitals have cringed at taking on too great a share of that overall goal.

The proposals, along with a revision of the bloc’s emissions trading scheme, are due to be presented on January 23. The Commission postponed the announcement from early December mostly to give itself more time to negotiate with EU governments.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, writing by Paul Taylor and Jeff Mason)


22 November 2007

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