EU Proposes Multi-Year Program for Energy

The European Commission is proposing a new multi-annual program for action in the field of energy with the report, “Intelligent Energy for Europe” (2003-2006), to follow on from the current energy framework program, due to end at the end of the year.

BRUSSELS, Belgium – April 12, 2002 [] With a budget of €215 million (US$189 million), “Intelligent Energy for Europe” implements the strategy outlined in the Green Paper on security of energy supply, founded on Renewable Energy sources and energy efficiency. “In the field of energy, the EU must focus its efforts on specific action with a high added value, to enable us to manage our dependence on external energy and comply with our Kyoto commitments to combat climate change,” said Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President responsible for energy and transport. “This ambitious new program will help us to take better coordinated and more coherent action.” With the new “Intelligent Energy for Europe” action program, the Commission is adopting a more integrated and coherent approach. It is proposing a much higher level of European support for promoting Renewable Energy and energy saving and at the same time bringing international action into line with these two priorities. Finally, it proposes to introduce several new measures on the energy aspects of transport in line with the new guidelines of the common transport policy. In the current financial context, the commission proposes to allocate the program a budget of €215 million (US$189 million) for the period 2003-2006. This budget takes account of the EU’s political guidelines, notably the European Union strategy for sustainable development approved by the Gothenburg European Council in June 2001. Joint funding will in principle be limited to 50 percent of the total cost of projects, but for certain studies, or measures undertaken on the Commission’s own initiative, there is provision for 100 percent funding. In order to be eligible for support, projects must help to manage the EU’s energy dependency and combat climate change. Energy policy has so far focused on influencing energy supply and production. However, as the Green Paper on security of energy supply demonstrates, there is little room for movement in this area. Therefore, the Green Paper proposes to balance this supply-side approach against a demand-based approach, namely our energy consumption. The EU energy policy objectives must influence our energy consumption in order to: Improve security of supply. If the EU takes no action it will be importing over 70 percent of its energy by 2030. Such a level of dependence involves many economic, political and environmental risks. For instance, 95 percent of our oil needs will have to be imported. The transport sector in particular is almost entirely dependent on oil. Combat climate change. Moreover, the EU has undertaken to reduce its emissions of CO2 – the main gas responsible for climate change – by 8 percent in relation to the 1990 level; however, if nothing is done, the projections of the European Environment Agency show that total emissions by the 15 EU Member States should increase between 1990 and 2010. Here again, transport is the main offender; while it represents 28 percent of CO2 emissions, it will account for 90 percent of the increase in these emissions between 1990 and 2010. This program is part of the recent legislative initiatives concerning the promotion of Renewable Energy in electricity production, development of biofuels and energy efficiency in buildings. This program is registered in complement of the legislative initiatives taken concerning the production of electricity starting from the renewable sources, the biocarburants and the performances energy in the buildings. Faced with these challenges, the Green Paper on the security of energy supply recommends that European measures to support activities in the energy field be adapted to contribute to the specific energy objectives: improving energy efficiency by around 1 percent a year and developing the potential for renewable energies to account for 12 percent of overall consumption by 2010.

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