Brussels debuts plans for green
Nov 13, 2008 - BusinessGreen.com
European Commission calls for North
Sea wind energy grid, tighter building regulations
and huge investment in energy efficiency
The European Commission has today
unveiled a wide-ranging package of energy proposals
designed to bolster the bloc's energy security and
help ensure the EU meets its climate change targets.
Central to the new strategy are proposals
for a raft of energy network projects, including
plans for a super-grid to connect offshore wind
farms in the North Sea with the UK, Scandinavia
and Baltics; upgraded energy efficiency standards
to enhance the energy performance of buildings and
appliances; and a huge expansion in the use of Combined
Heat and Power (CHP) technologies.
Commission President Josť Manuel Barroso
said the measures were necessary to limit EU reliance
on energy imports, address energy prices that have
risen an average of 15 per cent across the EU in
the past year, and ensure targets to cut carbon
emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 are met.
"The proposals adopted today represent
an unequivocal statement of the Commission's desire
to guarantee secure and sustainable energy supplies,"
The action plan features a green paper
that proposes a massive overhaul of Europe's energy
grids, designed to deliver greater integration of
grids across country borders, better support the
expected increase in renewable energy capacity and
decentralised energy generation, and implement smart
It details five projects designed
to provide clustered energy grids that enhance energy
security and improve access to renewable energy
by operating across a number of countries, including
a North Sea offshore grid for wind energy; a Mediterranean
energy network capable of accessing solar farms
and natural gas reserves in North Africa; and a
Baltic Interconnection Plan to link the grids of
countries bordering the North and Baltic Seas.
Jonathan Johns, head of renewable
energy at Ernst & Young, welcomed the announcement,
claiming that it would offer a significant boost
to the UK's emerging offshore wind energy market.
"Just as Europe financed our transnational
road structure its impetus is needed to ensure we
have a grid system fit for the new energy era,"
he said. " The investment required is immense, but
the payback is huge. It would allow the UK to become
the natural low cost provider of green energy for
many parts of Europe, and ease the tensions in energy
pricing we suffer from today."
The action plan also features a target
to cut energy use by 20 per cent across the EU by
2020 and proposes the tightening of a number of
energy efficiency regulations to help ensure the
goal is met.
In particular, it proposes beefing
up the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
and extending energy performance certificate programmes
as part of a programme designed to enhance building
energy efficiency and cut overall EU energy consumption
by between five and six per cent by 2020.
It also sets out plans to extend the
Energy Labelling Directive so that the A-G energy
efficiency labels that appear on household appliances
are also featured on other energy using products
in the industrial and commercial sectors, as products
that have an impact on energy consumption such as
In addition to tightening energy regulations,
the action plan also sets out a new CHP Directive
designed to promote adoption of highly energy efficient
cogeneration energy plants capable of producing
both heat and electricity, and outlines proposals
for a new labelling directive to promote tyres that
deliver the greatest improvement in vehicle fuel