EU Commissioner has Ambitious Energy Efficiency Plans

EUROPEAN Union (EU) commissioner Gunther Oettinger has outlined an ambitious programme designed to boost the EU's energy role.

Speaking today, the German official also said he was "confident" next week's summit of EU leaders will "send a clear signal to accelerate energy efficiency targets".

Oettinger, who is responsible for energy policy, detailed a five-point "action plan" which he believes is necessary to increase European growth and competitiveness in the energy sector.

This includes a bigger commitment to reduce energy consumption, particularly important as worldwide demand for energy is expected to rise by 30 per cent by 2035.

Failure to do so, he says, will lead to "conflict" in some parts of the world and a "sharp rise" in energy prices.

Another proposal, said Oettinger, is to "mainstream" energy efficiency into all EU policies.

He said that, currently, member states were "seriously lagging behind" the EU's target of a 20 per cent reduction in energy use by the year 2020.

German paper reported Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung today that Germany is likely to only achieve only 12.8 percent reduction in energy consumption, with France and Spain reaching 16 percent. Only Malta is expected to exceed the 20% figure while Austria is forecast to reduce consumption by 19.8%.

"If we continue at the current pace, we will only reach 50 per cent of this target," Oettinger said.

To help achieve the so-called 2020 targets he has proposed "mandatory energy efficiency" criteria in all member states.

He hopes the special EU summit in Brussels on 4 February, which will focus on energy issues, will "send a clear signal" of the EU's intent to increase efforts to meet its energy efficiency targets.

"I also hope it will set a deadline for the removal of all technical barriers for the completion of the single market in energy," said Oettinger.

Tuesday 25th January 2011

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