Select Committee on European Communities Twelfth Report


125. When the Committee decided in January 1999 to conduct this enquiry, we expected soon to have the published draft Directive mentioned in paragraph 105 as the basis for our recommendations. In the event, the Directive was not forthcoming[37] and the cause of renewable energy is thus not as far advanced as we had anticipated.

126. Some progress has continued on these issues: within Europe as prompted by the April 1999 Working Paper mentioned in paragraph 108; and within the UK following the March 1999 publication of the Government's consultation document referred to in paragraph 119. This Report and our recommendations are presented in part as responses to both those documents.

127. The members of Sub-Committee B (Energy, Industry and Transport) who conducted this enquiry are set out in Appendix 1.

128. Appendix 2 sets out the call for evidence issued in January 1999. Those who gave evidence are listed in Appendix 3.

129. Our written and oral evidence was complemented by a series of visits. In early March 1999, we went to the North East of England to visit the Photovoltaics Applications Centre at the University of Northumbria; the wind farm at Blyth Quay; and the Earth Balance Sustainable Development Centre at Bedlington. In late March, we visited Denmark for discussions with the Danish Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr Svend Auken, and his senior officials, and also to visit the Risø National Laboratory; the straw-burning CHP plant at Masnedø; and the wind farm at Avedøre. We returned from Denmark via Brussels where we met members of the European Parliament's Energy Group; senior officials of the European Commission's Directorates-General XVII (Energy) and XII (Science, Research and Development); and representatives of some relevant Brussels-based Non-Governmental Organisations.

130. We are grateful to all our witnesses, and those whom we visited, for their thoughtful contributions to our deliberations. We also thank our Specialist Adviser, Mr David Milborrow, for his invaluable assistance in steering us through the complicated and fast-moving field of renewable energy matters.

37   Although, as noted in paragraph 109, a new Directive should be issued soon. Back

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