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11 November 2010

Commission's 2020 energy plan fails to impress

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The European Commission presented its new energy strategy yesterday (10 November), calling for €1 trillion of investment over the next decade to integrate Europe's energy network while fending off criticism over a lack of concrete ideas

The Energy 2020 strategy lays down priorities in five broad areas. It seeks to curb Europe's energy consumption with financial incentives to renovate Europe's energy-guzzling buildings and integrate the European energy market.

Furthermore, it proposes to pursue an external EU energy policy, ensure Europe's leadership on innovative energy technologies and address consumer issues like making billing more transparent or making it easier to switch suppliers.

"Over the next ten years, overall energy infrastructure investments in the EU of euro one trillion are needed," the Commission said in a statement. "By 2015 no member state should be isolated."

The required investments would mainly come from the industry and consumers, who should prepare to finance some of the infrastructure costs with rising energy bills, said EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. The EU budget's impact would be limited to projects of European interest and research, he added.

The Commission also addresses delays in strategic infrastructure projects by proposing simplified permitting processes and setting a time limit for EU funding decisions.

Oettinger said he was confident that EU heads of state and government would endorse the strategy in February at a special summit focused on energy


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