* Eight new draft laws to reform electricity markets
* Sets 30 percent binding energy-efficiency target
* Aims for greater EU grid cooperation, price convergence
* Still faces lengthy approval by member states
By Alissa de Carbonnel
BRUSSELS, Nov 30 EU regulators will unveil
reforms on Wednesday to promote a greater share of renewables in
Europe's grid by 2030, with plans to cut energy use by 30
percent, phase out subsidies for coal-fired plants and enforce
greater cross-border trade.
The European Commission's draft, seen by Reuters, seeks to
meet goals on cutting emissions and adapt Europe's grid to a
roll out of digital technologies and growth of wind and solar
power that is transforming industry and challenging utilities.
The proposal, due to presented around 11 GMT, sets Brussels
on a collision course with national governments who have
increasingly sought to insure against black-outs by subsidising
Facing a crisis of confidence over Britain's vote to leave
the bloc, the EU executive is seeking to champion consumer
rights, pledging to lower prices, streamline billing and remove
barriers for households to sell what electricity they produce.
While wholesale electricity prices are at their lowest point
in 12 years across the bloc, Commission data shows, consumer
bills have risen by some 3 percent a year since 2008.
"We are radically reforming the energy market for a greater
integration of renewables," Miguel Arias Canete, Commissioner
for climate and energy, told reporters on Tuesday in Madrid.
"Consumers will have a very important role."
Under the bill, which still faces a lengthy review by the
European Parliament and member states, EU sources say the EU's
energy regulatory agency ACER would gain power to rule on
disputes over the shape of single-price trading zones like that
which covers joint German-Austrian power markets.
It also foresees more cooperation between grid operators in
regional operations centres by the end of 2021, under the
leadership of grid lobby ENSTO-E, to develop common rules on
cross-border electricity flows.
In an effort to decarbonise the economy, reduce dependence
on imports of fossil fuel and lighten the load on the grid, it
set a binding target to cut energy use by 30 percent by 2030 but
this falls short of a call by European lawmakers for a 40
The package also takes aim at subsidies for fossil fuels and
market distortions by setting stricter limits on support schemes
for reserve power, known as capacity mechanisms.
They would have to be open across borders and to innovative
providers who offer schemes that pay firms that work to ramp
down power consumption, in so-called demand-side response.
As Reuters exclusively reported on Monday, EU
regulators plan to attach a limit of 550 grams of carbon dioxide
per kilowatt-hour to subsidies paid to new plants - ruling out
their use for coal-fired plants.
Environmental campaigners have criticised the leaked draft
provisions for an EU-wide renewable energy target of 27 percent
by 2030 as lacking in ambition. They say it is undermined by
weak rules on implementation, moving away from a previous
nationally binding target of 20 percent by 2020.
Also at issue, are plans to limit wind and solar energy
producers' right to be the first to sell their electricity into
the grid for new projects in EU nations where renewables already
make up more than a 15 percent share of the energy mix.
Among the biggest losers from the push toward a lower carbon
economy are farmers producing crop-based biofuels. The
Commission has taken a U-turn on policies to promote them - as
they are seen as snatching away land that should be used for
"We got it wrong," an EU source said, commenting on previous
policy. The draft law caps their share of the renewable energy
target to 3.8 percent in 2030 from 7 percent in 2021.
It plans a rise in so-called advanced biofuels made from
waste coming from agriculture or forestry industries to 5.5
percent by 2030 from 1.5 percent in 2021.
(Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels and
Jose Elías Rodríguez in Madrid; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)