Europe sets out energy strategy

12 January 2007

The European Commission has set out a comprehensive package of measures to establish a new Energy Policy for Europe to combat climate change and boost energy security.

A ten-point action plan sets out a series of ambitious targets on greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy, along with proposals to create a more competitive energy market across the economic bloc, and includes a report on the implementation by the Member States of the internal market for gas and electricity as well as the results of an enquiry of the state of competition; a plan of for priority interconnections to create a European grid; proposals to promote sustainable power generation from fossil fuels; a roadmap and other initiatives to promote renewables, and; an analysis of the situation of nuclear energy in Europe.

Based on the three central pillars of: a true internal energy market; accelerating the shift to low carbon energy; and energy efficiency, the mainstay of the new policy is a core objective for Europe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 with the aim to increase this target to a 30% reduction by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050.

Regarding nuclear energy, the Commission has made it clear that it is for each member state to decide whether or not to rely on nuclear electricity. However, the Commission also recommends that where the level of nuclear energy reduces in the EU “this must be offset by the introduction of other low-carbon energy sources otherwise the objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions will become even more challenging.” The document adds: “To meet the expected energy demand and to reduce European dependency on imports, decisions could be made on new investments or on the life extension of some plants.”

EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “If we take the right decisions now, Europe can lead the world to a new industrial revolution: the development of a low carbon economy. Our ambition to create a working internal market, to promote a clean and efficient energy mix and to make the right choices in research and development will determine whether we lead this new scenario or we follow others.”

The Commission will now seek endorsement of the energy and climate change proposals during the Spring European Council and develop legislation in light of these discussions. More details may be found at http://europa.eu/press_room/presspacks/energy/index_en.htm




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