According to a Commission source, the European Commission will propose regulations on Wednesday that would allow some gas and nuclear power stations to be classified as green projects, with only minor revisions from a prior draught proposal.
The question of whether gas and nuclear energy should be classified as green in the EU taxonomy, a set of guidelines that specifies which investments can be marketed as climate-friendly, has been a point of contention in Brussels for more than a year.
According to a Commission source speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Commission will confirm plans to classify nuclear and gas power plants as sustainable investments if they meet specific requirements in the final regulations that are scheduled to be published on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Commission chose not to respond.
Minor adjustments are anticipated in the requirements, which could make it simpler for some gas plants to obtain a green investment badge than in the previous draught.
According to the draught, gas plants would have been given a green label until 2030 if they met requirements such as emission caps and a mandate to gradually burn more low-carbon gases starting in 2026 before transitioning to 100% low-carbon gas in 2035.
The source stated that the 2026 rule would not be included in the final regulations, but the 2035 low-carbon gas mandate would.
According to them, a proposed rule that would require new gas plants to replace existing ones and reduce emissions by 55% per kWh of energy produced would instead apply the 55% reduction to the plant’s whole lifetime.
Before they are scheduled to be published on Wednesday, the Commission has not yet adopted the regulations, and they may do so.
The initiative has drawn criticism from activists and certain governments, and there is disagreement within the EU as to whether the fuels should be considered green.
On Monday, four nations wrote to the Commission pleading with it to remove gas, citing a “lack of scientific basis” for the fuel’s green designation. If the EU labels nuclear as sustainable, Austria and Luxembourg have threatened legal action.
Some central and eastern European nations see gas as necessary to replace more-polluting coal, while others, like France, which gets about 70% of its energy from nuclear power, believe that nuclear energy has a vital role to play in addressing climate change.
The final rules are subject to a four-month review period after publication, during which a super-majority of 20 of the total 27 EU member states or a majority of the 700 members of the European Parliament may exercise a veto.
The draught rules for gas and nuclear power, according to the Commission’s expert advisers last week, we’re out of step with the EU’s climate change ambitions, particularly its aim to have net zero emissions by 2050.
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