Cañete: EU needs €200 billion more in energy investment

Cañete at EFE's "Fórum Europa". [EFE/Angel Díaz]

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete today (28 April) said that the Juncker Plan had mitigated a slump in energy and environment funding. EURACTIV Spain reports.

At a forum organised by EURACTIV’s media partner EFE, Cañete explained that there had been a 15% reduction in investments in relation to 2007, with 75% of the drop happening in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

At the event, organised in conjunction with European Commission, Cañete outlined the two pillars of the EU’s energy and environment policy, as well as their investment needs.

The Juncker Plan, worth some €315 billion, aims to promote changes in the energy sector and environment policy in order to promote investment and create jobs.

Roughly €240 billion is earmarked for infrastructure and the rest for SMEs.

Cañete said that the investment needs in question cannot be satisified “just by public money”.

The Commissioner highlighted that 165 agreements had already been settled with banks throughout the EU and will support 135,000 companies, creating an “investment window for projects in 25 member states”.

He also added that the European energy market needs about €200 billion in additional investment that had not yet been secured by the “very fragmented” EU market, in order to allow the integration of renewable energies.

Cañete highlighted that there are “too many energy markets” and that there is a need to establish a “mechanism for the coming years”.

He also pointed out that Spain remains a beneficiary of structural funds and that the “main problem facing renewable energy” in the country is the lack of interconnectivity, as no infrastructure exists to export excess capacity to neighbouring countries.

Spain has submitted a number of projects to the Plan and six of them have already been implemented, including one on gas transport and distribution, as well as a maritime transport network intended to cut road emissions.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge we face and also affects investments,” the Commissioner concluded, as well as adding that the COP21 climate change agreement is a “historic milestone”.

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