Brussels, 3 November 2006
The EU's High Level Group (HLG) on Competitiveness, Energy and the Environment has called for the creation of a strategic European Energy Technology Programme focusing on technologies that need an ambitious funding programme to accelerate technology deployment.
The call comes in the HLG's newly adopted second report, which sets out a number of recommendations as to how Europe can ensure a sustainable energy future driven by competitiveness, the environment and security of supply.
Given the long lifetimes of energy infrastructures and the long development cycles for new technologies, this latest report takes a distinctly long term view.
The HLG believes that funding for a European Energy Technology Programme should come from Member States, the EU and industry research programmes. Activities under the programme could include the establishment of joint technology initiatives, for example on renewables, with a view to raising capital for the co-financing of large scale demonstration projects.
The report also calls on the EU to create the right market conditions to promote uptake of new energy technologies. It identifies energy efficiency as an area where large gains are possible, noting that despite the high rate of return, 'adoption of energy efficient technologies is slow due to poor understanding of benefits, asymmetry of information and other market failures'.
The HLG calls for greater international coordination of research activities and a strengthening of R&D partnerships with trading partnerships.
On the issue of funding, the HLG recommends that the Commission consider the establishment, together with the European Investment Bank (EIB), of a funding scheme that supports new risk and revenue sharing tools that can be put on offer by the banking sector, in particular through the EIB.
Other recommendations in the report include improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme; strengthening international cooperation on climate change and technology cooperation with developing countries.
Looking to the future, the Group has established two ad hoc groups to analyse innovation and technology perspectives in energy intensive industries and the impacts of environmentally harmful subsidies.
For more information, please visit: http:///ec.europa.eu/enterprise/environme nt/hlg/hlg_en.htm