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MEP urges EU ETS exemptions for energy use cuts

13 Jun 2017 18:44 (+01:00 GMT)
MEP urges EU ETS exemptions for energy use cuts

London, 13 June (Argus) — EU sectors that are obliged to cut their energy usage under a post-2020 revision of the EU energy efficiency directive should be exempted from their EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) obligations, Polish member of the European Parliament (MEP) Adam Gierek said.

Economic sectors that have to cut their energy usage by 1.5pc/yr under a new EU energy efficiency law proposed for 2021-30 should be exempted from EU ETS allowance purchases, said Gierek, who is rapporteur and is tasked with forging consensus on the file in parliament's industry and energy committee (ITRE) and then securing the full parliament's approval.

Energy efficiency gains must be rewarded by exempting installations from EU ETS allowance purchases in line with the relative cut in primary energy usage, Gierek said in his draft proposal. He justifies this provision by saying compulsory annual linear reductions in CO2 emissions and energy usage combined may lead to financial losses.

Gierek proposes that emission standards should be modified to take account of an EU member state's energy mix and its primary energy sources so that the EU ETS can be modified "without limiting the competitiveness of countries generating energy from fossil fuels, particularly from coal".

Non-governmental organisations criticised Gierek for misusing his oversight of the energy efficiency file to promote coal-fired power generation and, conversely, Poland's interests. The proposed provisions on emission standards would allow EU member states to continue subsidising coal-fired power plants through the EU ETS, Climate Action Network (Can) Europe said.

Can Europe director Wendel Trio described the proposal as "largely incomprehensible". Parliament has no option other than to reverse the report's direction in line with its earlier resolutions in favour of a 40pc energy savings target by 2030, he said.

Gierek proposes an EU-wide energy efficiency target of 35pc against business-as-usual levels on the basis that it is "more realistic" and will attract much wider support in parliament. But Gierek's suggested target, despite it being higher than the European Commission's proposed 30pc goal, is flawed, the European Environmental Bureau's energy and climate policy officer, Roland Joebstl, said.

Contrary to the commission proposal, Gierek adds the transport sector's energy usage, which amounts to a third of the EU's overall consumption, to the reference level against which savings should be achieved, which weakens the target, Joebstl said.

Parliament's environment committee has submitted amendments to Gierek's proposal, which are more aligned to parliament's original resolutions, Joebstl said.

The energy committee will next discuss the proposal on 20-21 June. Lead committee ITRE will consider the proposal on 4 September and is due to vote on it in early October, with the plenary vote likely to follow around a month later.

For the proposal to become law, it has to be passed by parliament and the Council of EU member states. Gierek will represent parliament in trialogue negotiations with the council.