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Brussels, 29 April 2009

Energy Commissioner Piebalgs received the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attended today the Energy Efficiency Global Forum in Paris, where he accepted the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award. This award is bestowed upon three recipients from different regions of the world (the Americas, Asia-Pacific/Africa, and Europe) in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the advancement of energy efficiency.

In his acceptance speech, Commissioner Piebalgs outlined the European Commission's vision for energy efficient European markets and policies. He pointed out that the recent price volatility of oil has highlighted the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource, becoming increasingly concentrated in few hands, and that endless supplies of cheap oil and gas could no longer be taken for granted.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The first responsibility of the European Union over the next decade is to face this challenge, to lay the foundations for a society that is truly sustainable, to provide a model that the rest of the world can follow. For that, our economic activities need to emit less greenhouse gas, rely on more energy from renewable energy sources and use energy more efficiently". He spoke of the energy efficiency-related directives that the EU has already adopted, and emphasized the need for active policies, not just high prices of oil and gas as incentives to improve energy security and climate. The Commissioner expressed his conviction that energy efficiency must remain the highest priority among all the energy priorities to address. He also expressed appreciation for the conference as "an excellent forum to learn about new developments and new necessities in making energy efficiency an effective tool for achieving sustainability in EU's energy consumption and supply".

Regarding global efforts, the Commissioner said: "In the area of energy efficiency, global efforts are as important as the European agenda. Energy demand in Europe is rising much more slowly than in the rest of the world, so our priority must also be to encourage our partners' efforts, both in developed and developing countries. Here, the International Partnership on Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) will offer a crucial framework".


The EE Visionary Awards winners are selected by the Energy Efficiency Global Forum & Exposition (EE Global) International Steering Committee (ISC). The ISC selected Commissioner Piebalgs as a 2009 EE Visionary recipient in recognition of his leadership and work to develop an integrated climate and energy policy, backed up by a detailed action plan, which has put Europe at the forefront of advancing energy efficiency world-wide.

The EE Global is organized by the Alliance to Save Energy, which is a non-profit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders founded in 1977. It promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.

The EE Global event focuses on energy efficiency from the perspective of all energy end-use sectors and covers such issues as finance, policy, technology and market transformation. The international event was set-up in order to serve as a global marketplace for energy-efficient products and services, as well as building strategic alliances between international governments, businesses and the public interest sector, educating consumers, public and media, and exchanging best practices in energy efficiency. The event is organized by international leaders and it rotates between all geographic world regions.

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