10 November 2010

EU unveils trillion-euro single energy market

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The European Union's energy chief Wednesday unveiled an ambitious 10-year trillion-euro energy investment plan for a single EU energy network to cut fossil fuel imports and fight climate change

"There is no single energy market," Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told a news conference. "We need to render energy European."

Europe's current system was "like 19th century dukedoms rather than a modern open Europe," he said.

His proposals, geared to face up to what he called "one of Europe's greatest tests", will be eyed by European Union leaders at the bloc's first ever energy summit February 4, 2011.

While energy had over-ridden labour in terms of costs and fossil fuel imports were on the rise, Europe's energy sector was not competitive, with massive investments needed in new technologies and infrastructures.

"Europe cannot lose," he said, calling for one trillion euros (1.38 trillion dollars) of investment to improve efficiency and reduce pollution.

Regarding efforts to combat climate change, the commissioner said the bloc could realistically achieve its 2020 goals of slicing carbon emissions by 20 percent and increasing the use of renewable energies such as wind and solar power by 20 percent.

But without greater investments and a single will the EU would be unable to meet its commitment to increase energy efficiency, also by 20 percent, by 2020, he said.

"Without accelerating investment in energy efficiency we will be closer to nine percent than 20 percent in 2020," he said.

(EUbusiness)

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