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High marks for EU energy policy - 04/09/2008

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International Energy Agency issues first report on EU energy policy, praising EU moves on climate change and energy market liberalisation

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has largely endorsed the comprehensive package of energy measures put forward to meet the EU’s ambitious targets on climate change. In its first review of EU energy policy, the agency praised the measures as a coherent approach to energy and global warming.

The measures will also reduce dependence on imports of gas and oil, and help shelter the economy from the effects of rising energy prices and uncertain supplies.

Further, the agency’s review calls on the EU to pursue proposals to separate – or unbundle – the supply of electricity and gas from production. When supply and production are controlled by the same companies, it is harder for competition to enter the markets. Unbundling would:

  • make it easier for smaller companies to get a foothold in the market
  • give consumers more choice and
  • boost the use of renewable energies like wind and solar power.

 

The IEA also recommends more funding for energy research and a stronger role for EU institutions in coordinating energy relations with other countries. Lack of a consistent approach has dogged the 27-member EU in its energy relations with Russia – its biggest supplier of gas and oil.

Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the “positive feedback” from the Paris-based independent agency, which advises governments on energy policy. The IEA review is the first to look at the EU as a whole. This shows the bloc is now a “single unit in energy matters,” Mr Piebalgs said at a news conference with Nobuo Tanaka, the IEA executive director.

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