BRUSSELS – Greenpeace activists on Thursday set up solar panels on the European Parliament in Brussels and unveiled a giant banner demanding easier access to solar power, as the penultimate round of negotiations on the role of renewable energy in the European Union took place.
The activists were denouncing that governments often try to stop citizens from using renewable energy, like in Spain, where a so-called “sun tax” sees solar panel users forced to pay huge fees while the government spends 27 million euros ($31.9 million) a year to buy electricity for ministry buildings, according to Greenpeace.
“The sun and wind belong to everyone but our governments want to discourage people from putting solar panels on their roof or joining cooperative wind farms,” said Ansgar Kiene, the Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser, adding: “All the while, they continue to bankroll coal, gas and nuclear power stations, filling the pockets of a few giant power companies.”
The banner, which read “Our sun, our power, our future,” was covered in selfies that were sent in from across the globe by people who support clean energy.
The activists used the electricity generated by the panels to make vegan ice cream, which they gave out for free to passersby.
The third and penultimate round of negotiations on the EU’s revised renewable energy directive is taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the Parliament and Commission are set to debate the role of clean energy in the bloc until 2030.
The initial energy directive established that the bloc should try to acquire at least 20 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2020.