The March 2006 European summit agreed that the EU's emerging energy policy should not impinge on national sovereignty, especially on the choice of energy mix - nuclear, renewables, coal or other.
But scenarios drawn up in the review will urge member states to take EU constraints into account when choosing their energy mix, mainly:
- Whether the energy sources are low in carbon and contribute to reaching EU targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and;
- whether or not they can be produced locally and alleviate the EU's import dependency.
The consensus is that EU nations should favour energy sources which contribute to energy independence, and emit as little carbon as possible but without mentioning a preference for a specific technology. This paves the way for an official endorsement of nuclear power, which is being revived in a growing number of countries.
On renewables, a new longer-term target, possibly for 2020, should receive backing from the ministers, diplomats said. This would give investors a longer timeframe than the March summit agreement, which considered raising their share to 15% by 2015. The current objective, laid down in the EU renewables directive, is 12% by 2010.
However, questions remain as to defining the target and how binding it should be. Individual targets for wind or solar did not find sufficient backing among member states, diplomats said.
The new targets will be fed into a road map for renewable energies to be tabled by the Commission in January.
Discussions will also address the Commission's energy efficiency action plan, which was tabled on 20 October (EurActiv 21/10/06). Agreement there should be reached on:
- Stepping up implementation of existing legislation (eg eco-design of electrical appliances and energy-efficiency standards for buildings) as well as promoting new standards and labelling;
- increasing savings from transport, including measures to encourage eco-driving;
- consumer behaviour, and;
- innovation and technologies