EU pushes through renewables directive

PARIS, France, Dec. 7, 2000à‚–The European Union Energy Ministers’ Council has agreed to a draft directive under which 22.1% of the EU’s electricity will be produced through renewablesà‚–including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and biomassà‚–by 2010. In keeping with the agreement, under which each member state will set its own target, France will ratchet up its production of electricity from hydroelectric power from 15% to 21%.

Yesterday, France’s government presented an energy savings and efficiency plan that should cost 1.5 billion francs in 2001 and is intended to help meet the Kyoto commitment.

Specific actions will be carried out in the areas of habitat as well as in transport. A vast information program to help change population behavior is also planned.

The main focus of the plan is the development of renewables technology for which 15 billion francs of private and public money will be invested, particularly in wind and hydroelectric energy. To insure implementation of the initiative, the French government will compel the electricity utility Electricite de France SA to buy the electricity produced at a guaranteed high price.

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