Austrian Presidency reveals its energy policy
For the next six months, Austria will be responsible
for pushing through the policy programme of the EU. The Austrian
Presidency has indicated that under its stewardship energy policy
will be based upon the fundamental principle of sustainability.
Its main aim is “to achieve an economically optimal supply
of energy sources and raw materials, taking account of security
of supply, cost-efficiency and environmental and social acceptability.”
The Austrians will seek to achieve their energy
policy objective in three ways:
By developing the statutory framework for energy and raw
By developing appropriate instruments in support of a forward-looking
energy and raw material planning programme
By maintaining the technical basis for energy
and raw material supply, in particular to protect human life
and health and people's living conditions
The focus of energy policy under the Austrian EU Presidency will,
To increase energy efficiency
To promote renewable energies
To improve the functioning of the internal energy market
Trans-European energy networks (TENs)
Political agreement has already been reached
on a common Council position with regard to TENs. It seems likely
that agreement will be reached with the European Parliament at
Second Reading. The final steps may occur during the Austrian
The implementation of an open, fiercely competitive internal market
for energy gives rise to the necessity to expand the required
infrastructure for energy networks EU-wide. The European Parliament
and the Council have therefore adopted guidelines for trans-European
energy networks and identified projects for electricity and natural
gas pipelines of common European interest. As a result of the
accession of 10 new Member States, these guidelines for trans-European
networks need to be amended, taking particular account of the
situation of the accession countries, and provision for financing
projects of common European interest. The proposal for new guidelines
contains projects of European interest whose implementation would
make an important contribution to an efficient and appropriately
structured energy network, and contribute to the security of supply
for the whole of Europe, as well as the further development of
the European internal market. Agreement now needs to be reached
quickly with the European Parliament.
Promotion of electricity generation from renewable
The European Commission will analyze the reports
from the Member States and submit a summary report to the European
Parliament and the Council by 31 December 2005 on the implementation
of the directive in question.
The report will highlight progress in internalizing
the external costs of electricity generated from non-renewable
energy sources and the impact of public subsidies on electricity
generation. It will also discuss Member States’ prospects
of achieving the national indicative targets set in the directive,
the global indicative target and any unequal treatment of energy
Progress in the creation of the internal market
for electricity and natural gas
The reports provided for in the directives mentioned
above, which have to contain a detailed presentation of progress
in creating the internal market for electricity and natural gas,
have to be submitted by the European Commission to the European
Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2006 at the latest.
Improvement of energy end-use efficiency
Political agreement on a common position has
already been reached. Efforts will be made to achieve an agreement
with the European Parliament (EP) on second reading under the
UK Presidency, but so far the positions of the Commission and
the EP on the one hand and the Council on the other are widely
divergent. Work on the proposed legal act may therefore continue
into the Austrian Presidency.
Biomass action plan
The Action Plan has been announced for the final
quarter of 2005.
The European Commission's Biomass Action Plan (BAP) is intended
to contribute to ensuring that the quantities of biomass required
to achieve the EU’s overall target for a doubling of the
share of renewable energy sources in primary energy consumption,
from the current approximately six per cent to twelve per cent
by 2010, are actually mobilised.
The Biomass Action Plan will take the form of a Communication
to the European Parliament and the Council and contain recommendations
for measures to increase biomass use for energy purposes in the
Green Paper on energy efficiency
Official title: European Commission Green Paper on Energy Efficiency
or Doing more with less.
The Green Paper on energy efficiency was submitted by the Commission
at the end of June 2005.
download Green Paper on energy efficiency
Green Paper on security of supply
In the framework of the EU's energy relations
with non-member countries, the European Commission is expected
to submit a Green Paper by the end of 2005 on security of supply,
which will probably follow on from the issues in the 2000 Green
Paper. The Commission is likely to place even greater emphasis
in this paper on energy supply aspects in an overall European
context, in particular cooperation with its most important supplier
countries and regions, such as Russia and the Middle East.
South East Europe Energy Community
The priorities in relation to external energy
relations depend on progress made under the UK Presidency.
It is important to note, however, that Austria was granted both
the temporary and permanent seat of the secretariat of this Community
at the Ministerial Conference of the South East Europe Energy
Community on 13 December 2004, chaired by the Federal Ministry
of Economics and Labour (BMWA). The temporary secretariat has
already taken up its duties. It will be transformed into a permanent
body when an international treaty, which has already been negotiated,
comes into effect as planned in 2006. This means that a fourth
major international energy institution will be based in Vienna,
alongside OPEC, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).
Austrian Conference Energy Paths - Horizon 2050
The conference “Energy Paths - Horizon
2050” (in which the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation
and Technology will participate) is scheduled to take place on
16 March 2006 in the Auersperg Palace in Vienna: at this event,
options for sustainable energy supply within this time horizon
will be advanced and discussed, with the focus on the necessary
technology choices this implies.
Security of supply and environmental compatibility
are key themes of European energy policy and also for the Austrian
EU Presidency. The technology policy measures concerned include,
in particular, the preparation of the Framework Programme of Research,
Technological Development and Demonstration and its sub-programmes;
the establishment of structures such as the technology platforms
and joint technology initiatives.
Additional information on energy policy objectives can be found
on the Austrian Presidency’s official website at: www.eu2006.at/en/.
The website has no section specifically dedicated to R&D policy.
ENS NEWS will continue
to report on the progress of energy policy under the current Presidency
and report on all developments relating to research, including
the 7th Framework Programme and the accession of Euratom to the