HC Deb 27 November 1987 vol 123 c356W
Mr. Andrew Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Community Council of Energy Ministers on 13 November.

Mr. Parkinson

My hon. Friend the Minister of State represented the United Kingdom at the Council of Energy Ministers on 13 November.

The Council adopted a recommendation on measures to encourage, without distorting the market, the exploitation of renewable energy sources in the Community. Ministers noted the Commission's intention to prepare, with the assistance of experts from member states, an international conference in the second half of 1988 which would consider the marketability of renewable energy sources.

The Council agreed conclusions recognising the need to establish procedures for spreading information on the energy efficiency of buildings. Ministers considered the binding nature of a directive as proposed by the Commission inappropriate, but discussion will continue on a possible Council recommendation.

Ministers noted with interest the Commission's intention to prepare a programme for improving the efficiency of electricity use. The programme will be considered next year.

The Council discussed the potential for the conversion of foodstuffs into ethanol for use as a blending component for petrol. There was general support for the Commission's decision not to table proposals on bioethanol since it is clear from technical and economic evidence that development of bioethanol is unjustified.

Lastly, Ministers were unable to agree conclusions on the costs to refiners of complying with environmental legislation. The matter will be considered further.