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EU/policy: The members of European Parliament have amended four legislative proposals on the EU electricity market, all part of the so-called Clean Energy package. While striving to give more choice to consumers and increase energy security, they also voted in favor of stricter rules for the capacity mechanisms. This means that there will be less coal power subsidies (as of 2020 for new infrastructure and as of 2025 for existing plants) and more support for the small scale renewable energy producers. Two weeks ago, the European Commission approved capacity mechanisms for Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Poland.
EU/policy: The attempt started at the end of January by 13 members of EU parliament (MEPs) to veto the current ‘Projects of Common Interest’ list of energy projects that relate to fossil fuels failed on Feb. 21. The MEPs in the industry, research and energy committee voted against vetoing the list.
EU/policy: The International Renewable Energy Agency has launched a report saying that the European Union could increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 34% by 2030, which would be double the 2016 share. The increase would be possible with today’s technology and it would trigger additional investments of around EUR 368 billion. The report was developed at the request of the European Commission.
EU/Poland: The European Union’s Court of Justice said on Feb. 22 that Poland had failed to uphold air quality standards. It ruled that limits to regulate the amount of pollutants in the air had been “persistently exceeded” by Warsaw. The ruling comes after the European Commission took Poland to court over the country’s slow response in addressing poor air quality caused by extensive coal use. This adds to the reasons for Poland thinking of developing alternatives to coal. This is not the first time the EU Court of Justice issues such a ruling – Bulgaria faced similar charges in April 2017. In the same time, the European Commission warned other nine member states, including Germany and the U.K., that it could take similar legal action against them if they did not present timely measures to tackle air pollutants.
Austria/Hungary/Czech Republic: Austria filed a legal complaint with the European Court of Justice on Feb. 22 against the EU Commission approval of the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant in Hungary. This follows through the Austrian government announcement last month. The Czech Republic will likely get the same treatment from anti-nuclear Vienna, considering it announced last week that it planned to streamline a project to build a new reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power plant which is only 50km north of Austrian border. The Czech Republic hopes to persuade Brussels to exempt the project from strict EU rules, just as Hungary has done in the case of Paks.