Commissioner Andris Piebalgs underlines the key role of research in energy, during visit to technological site

January 20, 2006

Brussels, 19 Jan 2006

The European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs underlined the need to act now to ensure a secure energy supply for Europe, during his visit of the "Energy Research Site" at Petten (The Netherlands), that is taking place today. Recalling that the EU currently imports 50% of its energy (rising to 70% within 25 years), he advocated exploring all sources of energy and called for greater energy savings and efficent energy use. It is estimated that the EU could save at least 20% of its present energy consumption per year. Centres such as the Petten site assess the energy challenges facing the EU and contribute to helping define a future with a secure, competitive, and sustainable European energy policy.

Mr Piebalgs commented that the combination of public and private sector partners with the Commission's Joint Research Centre (Institute for Energy) provides valuable expertise in different energy areas from nuclear to renewables. Commissioner Piebalgs' visit included the solar panel technology lab, the high flux research reactor, and gave him insights into new developments in hydrogen technology including a new fuel cell testing facility. During the tour, he also spoke with experts from The Dutch Energy Research Centre (ECN), The Joint Research Centre's Institute for Energy, and The Center for Nuclear Expertise, Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group, NRG. The Petten site has more than 50 years of experience in pioneering research spanning fundamental research through to technology implementation.

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