Regions commit to energy savings, renewables

EU regions and local governments have pledged to increase the share of renewable energies in their overall mix and to boost energy efficiency.

declaration on energy efficiency and renewable energy was signed on 7 December 2006 at a round table organised in Brussels by the Committee of the Regions, the European Federation of Regional Energy and Environment Agencies and the Assembly of European Regions.

The declaration includes a series of separate pledges made by individual regions. Examples include a commitment by the Kalmar County Council in Sweden to be “totally fossil-fuel free by 2050 or earlier” and a commitment by the Navarra region in Spain to have 75% of its electricity produced from renewable energy sources by 2010.

Speaking at the round table, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that he hoped more regions would follow suit and set quantitative targets as well.

He said that forthcoming measures at EU level would include a revision of labelling requirements for electrical appliances (Ecodesign directive) that will reserve “A” label standard only to the “10-20% most efficient appliances”.

In the buildings sector, he said that member states and regions “could and should consider doing much more already now and not wait for a move from Brussels” to lower the 1,000 square-metre benchmark for minimum efficiency requirements.

Piebalgs said that EU state-aid rules will be re-examined in 2007 to scrap guidelines that explicitly prohibit support for the production of energy-efficient goods. As they currently stand, EU state-aid rules only allow member states to adopt fiscal measures promoting the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and cars that emit less CO2.

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