EU - Ireland in breach of energy rules


Ireland still needs to adapt its energy legislation in order to be fully in line with EU rules, or it will be taken to court to force its hand, according to the EU Commission.

Because Ireland failed to fulfil these obligations, the European Commission has decided to proceed with the next step in two infringement cases. The third and final step - if Ireland continues to be in breach of the rules - would see the Commission take Ireland to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission stated that opening energy markets for competition is key to the competitiveness of the EU economy as a whole. An efficient, interconnected and transparent European internal energy market will also offer consumers a choice between different companies supplying gas and electricity and will make the market accessible to all suppliers.

The Electricity and Gas Directives of the third internal energy market package had to be transposed by the Member States by 3 March 2011. To-date, Ireland has not informed the Commission of all the necessary measures for fully transposing the directives into national law.

Consequently, the Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Ireland to urge the country to comply with its legal obligation. Ireland now has two months to respond. If it fails to comply the Commission may refer it to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In addition, Ireland has still not complied with the Renewable Energy Directive, which had to be transposed by Member States by 5 December 2010.

According to the Commission - 'The timely transposition of this Directive is a priority for the Commission, especially since unnecessary delays in implementing it may jeopardise the achievement of the EU renewable energy objective.

'However, Ireland has not informed the Commission of all the measures necessary to fully transpose the Directive into its national legislation. Therefore, the Commission has today decided to send a reasoned opinion to Ireland. If the country does not comply with its legal obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer it to the Court of Justice.'

According to the Directive, each Member State has to reach individual targets contributing to the overall 20pc share of renewable energy in energy consumption. To reach these targets, Member States have to lay down rules - for example, for improving the grid access for electricity from renewable energy sources, the administrative and planning procedures, information and training of installers, etc.

In addition, where biofuels are used to achieve the transport target, these must meet a set of sustainability requirements, which also need to be included in national legislation.