31 May 2012

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European Sustainable Energy Week on 18-22 June – registration still open

The sixth edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Europe Week (EUSEW) takes place from 18 to 22 June 2012. Interested in attending? Registration is now open! Some of EUSEW's activities, such as Energy Days, actually kick off the previous weekend in synergy with Global Wind Day (Friday 15 June) and continue throughout the weekend after, until 24 June. Organised by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy, the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI), the European Institutions, major energy actors and private companies, the EUSEW 2012 celebrates innovative energy initiatives for a sustainable future. So far, close to 600 events are being organised in Brussels and all over Europe, and many more will come on board. Join us at EU Sustainable Energy Week 2012 and be part of the European network of best energy solutions.

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The European Commission convened a roundtable on EU refining industry

On 15 May European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger met with stakeholders to discuss the difficulties of the EU refining sector. The event brought together representatives of the Member States with an oil refining presence. Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the EU refining industry and of trade unions also participated in the debate. In recent years, the sector has been experiencing depressed margins at a time of falling demand, coupled with excess capacity. In response to market conditions, refining operations have been halted at a growing number of plants in the EU. The main objectives of the Roundtable was to allow Member States that have developed national refining plans and/or undertaken an assessment of the difficulties faced by their refining sector to share their recommendations and/or findings and to assess the need for coordinated action at the EU level to deal with the sector's difficulties.

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Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of controlling stake in German wind farm Borkum Riffgrund I by Boston Holding

Brussels, 10 May 2012 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over the North Sea wind farm Borkum Riffgrund I of Germany by DONG Energy Borkum Riffgrund of Germany and Boston Holding of Denmark. The Commission found that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because it will not alter the market structure.

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Digital Agenda: EU research breakthrough will cut 4G / LTE mobile network energy use in half

In coming years, internet access will be dominated by wireless devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Today there are 1.2 billion mobile broadband users, and the figure is growing by hundreds of millions each year. Mobile video and other data services consume much more energy than calls and SMS. This creates additional costs for mobile operators – ultimately passed onto consumers – and means the carbon footprint of mobile communications could almost triple from 2007 to 2020, an increase equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of Luxembourg.

The EU-funded project EARTH has received the 2012 "Future Internet Award" prize for developing unprecedented energy efficiency solutions for wireless communication networks. Researchers from companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Telecom Italia, DOCOMO, and from universities in Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and UK, have optimised the energy use of 4G/LTE (Long-Term Evolution) base stations, which account for the highest energy consumption in the mobile network.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The ICT sector is growing but its carbon footprint should not follow. I congratulate the partners of the EARTH project who have found ways to deliver the services we need while reducing CO2 emissions and cutting down on energy bills."

Optimising the energy use of the network will gradually bring down electricity bills for operators and help keep mobile costs affordable, while reducing pollution and carbon emissions. By reducing the power required to operate each mobile base station, it is also expected that these stations could in future be operated reliably by renewable energy, further reducing emissions.

The EARTH project runs until June 2012. Products are expected to be available on the market in 2014. Industrial and SME partners have already started to transfer their results into real products for the multi-billion euro global market for 4G products.

The project received €10 million of its nearly €15 million from the EU. The Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200) uses funding from the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7) to support innovative ICT solutions.


The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has been estimated to represent about 2% of global CO2 emissions. Digital Agenda actions are incorporated in the Europe 2020 energy and climate change targets involving a 20% cut in greenhouse gases and primary energy consumption respectively, plus another 20% increase in the use of renewable energy. Industry is showing efforts to cut down on emissions and increase the ICT sector's energy efficiency by setting up strategic priorities and standards.

Project members are:

  • Alcatel-Lucent (Project Coordinator), Stuttgart, Germany
  • Ericsson (Technical Manager), Stockholm, Sweden
  • NXP Semiconductors, Caen, France
  • DOCOMO Euro Labs GmbH, Munich, Germany
  • Telecom Italia S.p.A., Torino, Italy
  • CEA, University of Surrey, UK
  • Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • IMEC, Leuven, Belgium
  • IST- Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • University of Oulu, Finland
  • Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
  • TTI Norte, Santander, Spain
  • ETSI, Sophia Antipolis Technology Park, near Nice, France.

LTE technology (Long-Term Evolution), otherwise known as 4G technology, is the mobile broadband networks standard; already being deployed across Europe, it offers mobile connection speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) at peak rate. What is more, statistics have shown wireless mobile traffic will exceed traffic from fixed networks by 2015, while growing ten-fold over the next five years.

There are more than five million base station sites worldwide, a number expected to grow to more than 11 million base stations sites worldwide by 2020.

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