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08 October 2010

Oettinger values EU 2020 energy goals at €1 trln

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Europe needs to spend one trillion euros over the next decade on overhauling its energy system to reduce pollution and ensure supply, EU energy chief Günther Oettinger is expected to warn in the next few weeks.
"The energy challenge is one of the greatest tests Europe has to face. It will take years and decades to put our energy system onto a more sustainable and secure path," reads an early draft of the EU's 'Energy 2020' strategy, which the 27-member bloc's energy commissioner may propose as soon as November.

The strategy lays out how Europe might achieve the twin goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing energy crises, such as the three-week cut in supplies of Russian gas via Ukraine in January 2009.

That calls for massive refurbishment of its draughty buildings and creaking distribution networks, a tough foreign policy stance for negotiating energy imports and new powers to force through unsightly infrastructure projects.

"Investments needed by 2020 are estimated at one trillion euros to deliver the energy and climate targets," reads the document, seen by Reuters on Wednesday. "Energy prices will be affected by the rising investment needs."

Parts of the strategy worried environmentalists.

"If Oettinger gives the message that we should sweep away protections for citizens to make way for infrastructure, all he'll get is public outcry," said MEP Claude Turmes, of the Green group in the European Parliament.

Despite efforts to cut consumption, gas and electricity demand are forecast to increase.

Power generation is expected to rise 23% to 4,073 terawatt hours in 2030, according to fresh data revealed in the draft of Oettinger's 'Energy Infrastructure Priorities', which he plans to launch on 17 November.


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