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Brussels, 10 January 2007

Energy Technology for cheaper renewables, greater efficiency and global leadership of the European industry

Technology will play a central role in achieving the targets of the new Energy Policy for Europe. For this reason the Commission will annually invest approximately €1 billion between 2007 and 2013 in energy technology research and innovation. Technology should lower the costs of renewable energy, increase the efficient use of energy and ensure that European industry is at the global forefront. The European Union aims to be a front-runner in changing the way energy is produced, distributed and used: to this end, the Commission will prepare the first European Strategic Energy Technology Plan in 2007as part of its Energy Policy for Europe.

The European Union has three key objectives in the development of its energy technology: to lower the current cost of renewable energy, to facilitate the efficient use of energy and to place European industries in the leading position in low carbon technologies. This includes renewable energies such as wind, biofuels and solar, as well as sustainable coal and natural gas power plants, including CO2 capture and storage, and, later still, fuel cells and hydrogen, advanced fission power and fusion. All this should be done in combination with better use of energy in conversion processes, in buildings, industry and transport.

The key aim of the proposed European Strategic Energy Technology Plan is to accelerate innovation of energy technologies, and subsequently push the European industry to turn the threats of climate change and security of supply into opportunities to increase its competitiveness. This requires a new approach, which is more strategic and optimally integrates European capacities, in the way energy technology is developed, brought to the market and used.

The Commission's view is that the increased budgets for energy research and innovation of the 7th Framework Programmes (50%, from €574M/year to €886M/year), as well as of the Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme (100%, from €50M/year to €100M/year) for the period 2007-2013, are a first step in the right direction that Member States and industry should at least match.

Based on a thorough analysis of the current innovation system and an objective assessment of the potential of a broad portfolio of energy technologies, the Commission will put forward the first European Strategic Energy Technology Plan for endorsement by the 2008 Spring European Council.

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