Carbon free sources 'backbone' of future EU energy policy roadmap

September 26, 2006

Brussels, 25 Sep 2006

European Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, has outlined what he expects to achieve following the public consultation into the Energy Green Paper, which closed on Sunday 24 September.

He expects action in five areas, and three of those areas will have a direct impact on European research. During a public hearing on the Green Paper for European Energy Policy in Brussels on 22 September, he said: 'by 2050 the EU will need to source the clear majority of its energy use from carbon free sources, as will other countries. This has to be the backbone of Europe's energy policy.'

The five policy areas are:

- An EU strategic energy review, to underpin European Energy Policy, with a step-by-step road map on how to achieve this vision;
- A long-term Renewables Road Map;
- An internal Energy Market Review and the final results of the Sectoral Competition Energy Enquiry;
- A Priority Interconnection and Infrastructure Plan (PINC);
- A communication on Sustainable Coal use;
- A PINC Communication on nuclear energy in the EU as required by the Euratom Treaty.

The Commissioner outlined his belief that global warming is increasing and that European energy policy must act to reduce Europe's carbon emissions and environmental impact. 'We therefore need to agree, through the Strategic Energy Review, clear and precise medium and long term goals, in terms of progressively increasing the proportion of local, low carbon energy in our overall energy mix and then plot a path in order to reach it,' he said.

He also pointed out that developing carbon neutral energy sources would be a great opportunity for industry and research. Europe is already a world leader in both nuclear and renewable technologies, but the US is now a significant competitor, and this needs to be addressed. 'It is often said that Europe, by actively addressing global warming before its main competitors, is creating a threat to its competitiveness. So the question is, how do we turn this around and make it to the EU's advantage?' he asked.

To kick-start the process, the Commissioner said it was necessary to first 'make a step change on energy efficiency. If I had to identify one policy as my priority, it would be this one,' he said. He said it was necessary to harness the 20 per cent in energy efficiency available with current technology, but not exploited.

For the medium and longer-terms, he said plans are needed to develop the overall energy mix for the future, with a focus on carbon-neutral sources, renewable energy sources and carbon trading.

The second part of the speech addressed the internal European energy market, which needs to be in place in order to achieve any of the above, he said.

For further information, please consult the energy green paper:

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