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A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy

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A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy

The world’s energy systems are undergoing major changes. These will have a permanent impact. It is vital that the European Union (EU) steers its various sources of energy onto a secure and sustainable path.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Energy 2020 - A Strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy (COM(2010) 639 final of 10.11.2010)

SUMMARY

The world’s energy systems are undergoing major changes. These will have a permanent impact. It is vital that the European Union (EU) steers its various sources of energy onto a secure and sustainable path.

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNICATION DO?

It proposes a new energy strategy for the run-up to 2020. This builds on the progress already made, identifies ways to address new challenges and sets out the steps needed to attain the EU’s medium-term policy objectives. The new energy strategy focuses on five priorities.

KEY POINTS

Achieving an energy-efficient Europe. The existing link between economic growth and rising energy use must be broken. Buildings and transport can play a major role, while public authorities should lead by example.

Ensuring the free movement of energy. A more integrated, interconnected and competitive market must be created. This can be done by fully implementing existing EU legislation and developing a blueprint to enable energy to move from one country to another.

Providing secure, safe and affordable energy for the public and businesses. Many users are unaware of the opportunities a liberalised energy market can provide. A more consumer-friendly policy, based on the benefits competition brings, would drive home the advantages.

Extending Europe’s lead in energy technology and innovation. Without a major technological shift, the EU will fail in its 2050 ambitions to shift electricity and transport away from fossil fuels. The Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the 6 European Industrial Initiatives (wind, solar, bio energy, smart grids*, nuclear fission and carbon capture and storage*) aim to spur the necessary innovation.

Securing strong international partnerships. Many of the challenges the EU faces - climate change, access to oil and gas, technology development and energy efficiency - are shared by other countries. Working together, with strong EU input, will make it easier to find the right answers.

KEY TERMS

* Smart grids: energy networks that automatically monitor energy flows and adjust to changes in supply and demand.

* Carbon capture and storage (CCS): capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2), transporting and storing it, usually underground, where it will not enter the atmosphere.

For more information, see the European Commission’s 2020 Energy Strategy website.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Energy Roadmap 2050 (COM(2011) 885 final of 15.12.2011)

last update 14.09.2015

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