General

 

  • Europe initiates investigation over Chinese Solar Panels 
  • The EU initiated an anti-dumping investigation against China’s solar panel industry. This investigation was followed by another investigation starting at the beginning of November, again regarding an alleged subsidy for solar panel imports from China. The filed complaint back in September also included allegations that imported Chinese solar components receive unfair subsidies by the Chinese Government. The investigation procedure will last for nine months.
  • EU leaders proposed the financing of energy projects
    During the spring summit EU leaders reached a compromise on financing a of energy projects amounting to EUR 3.98 million in order to strengthen EU’s financial sector and increase energy security. The list of energy projects in the sectors of carbon capture and storage, offshore wind, gas and electricity must be agreed by the European Parliament to become final.
     
  • Expert group works on sustainable biofuel standards
    The Steering Board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), an international expert group supported by the United Nations, presented its draft sustainability criteria for the production of biofuels on 13 August 2008. The standards are called “Version Zero” and are hoped to be used by investors, governments, corporations and civil society.
     
  • Sustainability Scheme for Biomass
    In its energy and climate change package from January 2008, the European Commission undertook to report on requirements for a sustainability scheme for energy uses of biomass other than biofuels and bioliquids by 31 December 2010. The recently launched on-line consultation is aimed at providing the Commission with stakeholder views on the need for a biomass sustainability scheme and specific key principles and criteria to be developed at EU level to ensure that the use of biomass for energy purposes avoids environmental risks. The consultation will be opened until 30 September 2008.
     
  • Basics of energy liberalisation agreed upon by Energy Council
    The Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 6 June 2008 agreed on the main elements of the internal energy market legislative package, adopted by the Commission on 19 September 2007. The Council reiterated the conclusions of the 2007 spring European Council, with regards to the need to effectively separate supply and production activities from network operations. As for the exact method, there is still a disagreement whether to apply full ownership unbundling or use the option that allows for an independent transmission operator. The Council furthermore d that it was essential that third country control of networks was handled in a non-protectionist way. Other related issues dealt with by the Council included derogations for small or isolated systems and the ting up of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.
     
  • MEP's amend Commission of fuel quality Directive
    On 27 November 2007 the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted on the Commission proposal COM(2007)0018 that would amend Directive 98/70/EC on fuel quality in order to monitor and reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from road transport fuels. The text adopted by the EP at first reading agrees in principle with the strict sustainability criteria suggested by the Commission, while it proposes shorter compliance dates for low sulphur-fuels and introduces quality standards for bio fuels to avoid unsustainable production.
     
  • Energy liberalisation for increased efficiency and facilitating ETS
    The Commission's third energy liberalisation package was presented on 19 September 2007, with the aim among others to stimulate energy efficiency and to allow for the proper functioning of the Emissions Trading Scheme. The proposal mainly focuses on the separation of network operators and gas and electricity suppliers and s out two solutions: one option is a complete ownership unbundling the other is the creation of independent system of operators designated by the national governments, which would decide on network-related questions if the owner of the network is also involved in supply. The Commission insists on the first solution, while France and Germany, which are having a great interest in the sectors, together with other Member States, already have threatened to veto it. The need to empower national energy regulators as well as an increased transparency of the market is also pointed out in the package.
  • Report on electricity consumption<