European Parliament votes strong stand on EU energy investment monitoring

Today the European Parliament voted on a draft Council Regulation on the notification of investment projects in energy infrastructure within the European Union.

EWEA said that today’s vote in the European Parliament better reflects the reality of investments in today’s electricity sector than the Council proposal.

The European Council proposed notification of investments in wind farms larger than 20 MW, ignoring the large number of onshore wind farms which are below 20 MW in size. Instead the Parliament proposes that investments in wind power projects of more than 5 MW onshore, and 20 MW offshore, would have to be notified to the European Commission.

More new wind power capacity was installed in the EU in 2009 than any other electricity-generating technology. 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, and solar photovoltaics accounted for 16%.

Taken together, renewable energy technologies account for 61% of new power generating capacity in 2009. Therefore any instrument designed to monitor investments in the energy sector must be able to account for the vast majority of new wind power installations.

“The Council’s approach would miss at least one third of all new onshore wind power installations” said Paul Wilczek, EWEA Regulatory Affairs Advisor, “and give European policy makers a completely false picture of new electricity installations. There can be no justification for ignoring a large proportion of Europe’s preferred new power source. The fact is that for the last two years there has been more wind power installed than any other technology so it would be a big error to underestimate it.”

“The Parliament’s proposal would go a long way towards painting a more realistic picture, and I urge the Council to see accept the Parliament’s approach. An incorrect picture can only lead to bad policy in the future” added Wilczek.

Wind energy’s share of newly installed electricity-generating capacity in Europe increased from 35% in 2008 to 39% in 2009. It is also the second successive year that renewable energies have accounted for the majority of new investments.