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08 February 2011

Energy summit grapples with fossil fuel habit

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EU leaders agreed to merge and strengthen energy networks at their first ever energy summit on 4 February, giving a boost to the renewable energy industry and helping to curb Europe's growing reliance on fossil fuels

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told EU leaders that Europe should rein in its annual €310 billion spending – equivalent to 2.5% of GDP - on oil and gas imports.

"Major efforts are needed to modernise and expand Europe's energy infrastructure," a summit accord said.

At the heart of the summit declaration was a realisation that industry is not delivering some critical energy infrastructure and that taxpayers will soon have to step in.

The summit accord acknowledged that further green growth would require a high-tech "smart" power grid - estimated to cost about €200 billion - to carry wind power from the north and solar power from the Mediterranean to central cities such as Paris and Prague.

As well as building such computer-assisted grids, the European Commission was tasked with developing standards for charging electric cars, growing sustainable biofuels and financing an energy grid overhaul.


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