6 October 1995

Renewable energy urgently needed

By Liz Mason

EUROPEAN farming unions and co-operatives are calling for more support for renewable energy.

In a critical response to an EU energy policy document, the European farming groups, COPA and COGECA, say the lesson of the energy crisis of the 1970s has obviously not been understood.

To reduce its energy dependency and better protect the environment, the EU "must urgently and seriously develop energy production from biomass of agricultural and forestry origin," says the COPA/COGECA response.

It claims renewable energies are a genuine alternative to traditional energies and nuclear power. Biomass from farms and forests makes it possible to reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur emissions, it adds.

But unfortunately there is no "market organisation" for these renewable energies, say the farming groups. They call for:

&#8226 A EU co-ordination group to promote market access for biomass.

&#8226 Tax exemption for biofuels.

&#8226 Grant aid for biomass investment.

&#8226 An appropriate energy purchase price policy to promote electricity from biomass.

&#8226 A European agency to co-ordinate research and development.

&#8226 A simplified set-aside system for industrial crops. &#42