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WW200910, Brussels in brief

Irish Lisbon vote boosts EU energy policy in run up to global climate change talks

09.10.2009

The recent Irish ‘yes’ to the Lisbon Treaty will give EU energy policy a significant boost – and it is good news for the Commission in the run up to the global climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The Lisbon Treaty gives the EU, for the first time, clear competence for energy, and states that “Union policy on energy” shall:

“(a) ensure the functioning of the energy market;
(b) ensure security of energy supply in the Union; and
(c) promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and
(d) promote the interconnection of energy networks.”

“A properly functioning energy market and better interconnection of energy networks are essential for the wind energy industry to help the EU achieve its renewable energy targets” said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of EWEA. “The Lisbon Treaty will help us to do so.

“The Irish ‘yes’ vote was crucial for both the Lisbon ratification process and to unleash Ireland’s own wind energy potential.

“Ireland is a country with a huge potential for wind-powered renewable energy, and Irish citizens stand to benefit from cuts in their electricity bills if wind power is developed on a wide-scale. With better grid connections to the rest of Europe Ireland could be an exporter of electricity to the rest of the EU.”

“More wind energy in Ireland would not only reduce Ireland’s energy costs and make a huge contribution to its climate change emissions targets, but would create thousands of jobs in manufacturing, building, trading and maintenance.”

If the EU takes action to increase its energy security by boosting European wind power, it could also be redirecting the substantial funds spent on fossil fuel imports into European investments. Kjaer said: “Every European citizen spends €700 a year on imported fossil fuels from Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere. This money could be spent in Europe to develop renewable energies that would tackle climate change and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”

Last year wind power supplied 4.2% of the EU electricity demand. By 2020, EWEA estimates that wind power will supply up to 18% of the total EU electricity demand.

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