EU energy pledges revealed

Sweeping plans to put Europe's ambitious energy pledges into practice have been unveiled by the European Commission

Sweeping plans to put Europe's ambitious energy pledges into practice have been unveiled by the European Commission. Everything is covered from stepping up emergency oil stocks and cutting dependency on imports to boosting energy efficiency of buildings and exploiting offshore wind energy potential.

The proposals, the Commission said, are designed to help EU countries meet their so-called "triple twenty" target - a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% cut in overall energy use, and a 20% share of all energy needs from renewable sources, all by the year 2020.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, presenting the "Strategic Energy Review package", said EU energy prices had risen by an average 15% in a year, and 54% of Europe's energy was now imported at a cost of about £550 for every citizen.

Urgent measures were needed to increase energy efficiency and reduce dependence on outside sources: "We have to invest and diversify. The proposals adopted today represent an unequivocal statement of the Commission's desire to guarantee secure and sustainable energy supplies, and should help us deliver on the crucial 20-20-20 climate change targets."

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "The EU has come together as never before to deal with climate change, high energy prices and energy security. But we have to do more, be more ambitious, and be even bolder to avoid the risk of energy disruption in the future.

"This means investment, investing in energy and energy efficiency, and giving our economy the push it needs at this uncertain time."

The Commission report urges EU governments to agree formally in the next few weeks on the triple-20 climate change targets pledged last year.

The second priority is to tackle the "growing precariousness" of Europe's energy supply security.

Even when renewable energy targets are met, points out today's report, the EU is likely to be more dependent on imports than it is today.

The proposed measures include a stronger European system of emergency oil stocks in case of crisis or supply disruptions beyond EU control, as well as higher EU-wide security standards to safeguard natural gas supplies - the second most important fuel in the EU's current energy mix.

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