Brussels, 08 April 2002
The European Commission is to put greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency in its new multi-annual framework programme for actions in the energy field, 'Intelligent energy for Europe', to be announced on 17 April.
The programme has been organised into four separate themes: rational energy use and demand management (SAVE), new and renewable energy sources (ALTENER), energy aspects of transport (STEER) and promotion at international level of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency (COOPENER).
The budget for the programme has not yet been finalised, but is expected to be around 256 million euro, compared with the 200 million euro foreseen for the period of 1998 to 2002, which was later reduced to 175 million euro.
One of the aims of the programme is to encourage investment in emerging technologies already on the market and to encourage the spread of best practice. Technological options as well as project results will be monitored in coordination with the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Each area will be addressed with six types of action area:
- promotion of systems and equipment to ease the transition from demonstration to marketing;
- implementation of strategies, studies and the development of standards;
- development of information and education structures;
- creation of structures as well as financial and market instruments;
- assessment of the actions' impact.
The new programme should help the Commission to fulfil a number of strategic objectives, including energy efficiency, an increase in the share of renewables in energy production, an increase in the share of renewables in total energy consumption and the Kyoto protocol.
The programme is also intended to raise awareness among the main actors, including national, regional and local public authorities, consumers, producers and professional associations, encouraging them to use efficient, intelligent and sustainable schemes for energy production and consumption. The aim is also to promote exchanges of experiences and know-how.
The Commission will propose the establishment of an executive agency with the task of managing and following up the programme, thus freeing up some Commission staff who were previously involved in this to concentrate on strategic activities, such as global monitoring and providing information about the programme.