Energy Archives

  • Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

    Special Report 06-11-2009

    Buildings have an enormous role to play in the EU's attempts to slash greenhouse gas emissions, as they represent around 40% of all energy use. The EU addressed the problem by introducing minimum requirements for the energy performance of buildings, but having acknowledged that more needs to be done, it is now in the course of revising the legislation.

  • Solar power: Harnessing the world’s largest energy source

    Special Report 14-10-2009

    The EU – and Germany in particular – is an uncontested world leader in solar power. But the fledgling technology relies heavily on public money to bring down costs and with the economic turmoil EU countries are now having second thoughts about costly subsidy schemes.

  • Pipeline politics? Russia and the EU’s battle for energy

    20-08-2009

    While Russian gas giant Gazprom is drawing up long-term plans to strengthen its grip on Europe with pipeline projects backed by the Kremlin, the EU's response strategies are only in the early stages of development.

  • Algae: The ultimate biofuel?

    Transport 27-07-2009

    With traditional biofuels under fire for driving up food prices and wreaking environmental havoc, industrialists are stepping up research into algae as a sustainable alternative - but many obstacles remain before algae oil finds its way into our cars and planes.

  • Combined heat and power generation (CHP)

    16-04-2009

    Cogeneration was first promoted at EU level in a Green Paper on security of energy supply published in November 2000. The paper argued that if the EU's share of cogeneration, which only accounted for 11% of total electricity production in the EU in 1998, were to be increased to 18% by 2010, the ensuing savings could amount to 3-4% of total gross consumption in the EU 15.

  • ICT and climate change: Problem or solution?

    Climate change 06-04-2009

    Information and communication technologies can help curb global warming, but the sector is also coming under growing pressure from the EU to lead by example by cutting its own emissions, which are now comparable to that of the aviation sector.

  • Cities and climate change

    Climate change 04-03-2009

    Home to 80% of EU citizens and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, urban areas play a key role in fighting climate change; but cities' access to funding for green policies is proving a major stumbling block.

  • Energy pricing: Fixed rate or free-market?

    12-02-2009

    As electricity and gas markets slowly open up to competition, EU countries with fixed pricing policies are coming under growing pressure to let market forces decide prices. But opponents point to the potentially high social consequences of the measure.

  • Financing the low-carbon economy

    Sustainable Development 08-01-2009

    Political objectives to reduce CO2 emissions and transform the energy system are set to shape the EU's industrial and economic development in the coming decades, but the 'third industrial revolution' has been challenged by a financing squeeze as the world grapples with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

  • Energy and climate change: Towards an integrated EU policy

    Special Report | Science & Policymaking 08-01-2009

    At a landmark summit in December 2008, EU leaders reached agreement over an energy and climate change 'package' to deliver the bloc's ambitious objectives of slashing greenhouse-gas emissions and boosting renewable energies by 20% by 2020. The package is designed to reduce the Union's dependency on imported fuels and set the pace of "a new global industrial revolution".

  • High oil prices: The EU’s response

    15-10-2008

    As record-high fuel prices sparked protests across Europe in Spring 2008, the EU is preparing both long and short-term policy responses, including tax breaks for energy savings and increased transparency of oil inventories.

  • Microgeneration: Power to the people?

    Special Report 25-07-2008

    Households and neighbourhoods feeding small-scale electricity and heat into a decentralised European energy grid: this is the vision developed by proponents of microgeneration. Yet at present, the EU's energy system remains centralised and dominated by large power plants. 

  • Sustainable Consumption and Production

    Special Report | Sustainable Development 02-07-2008

    Amid concerns that growing resource scarcity and rising raw material costs are dampening prospects for Europe's economic growth, the EU is looking for ways to decrease the environmental impact of industrial activity, product manufacturing and consumption patterns.

  • Liberalisation of the EU gas sector

    19-05-2008

    As the EU embarks on a third wave of energy liberalisation, some voices are warning that the gas sector must be treated with extra caution as the current proposals are causing tensions with Europe's largest supplier, Russia.

  • Liberalising the EU energy sector

    05-05-2008

    Industries and private households are in theory able to freely choose their energy supplier following the entry into force of EU directives in 2004 and 2007, but many obstacles remain, with a single European energy market still far from reality. To make up for the shortcomings, the European Commission has made further legislative proposals, including controversial plans to separate the production and distribution arms of large integrated energy firms such as France's EDF and Germany's E.ON.

  • Biofuels, Trade and Sustainability

    Trade & Society 28-04-2008

    The lack of internationally-agreed criteria for sustainable biofuels production and the muddle of different government measures aimed at sheltering domestic markets are holding back growth in the global biofuels trade and could stunt EU progress towards its goal of gradually replacing oil for transport.

  • Biofuels for transport

    Transport 11-04-2008

    In a bid to reduce its dependency on imported oil and tackle global warming, the EU has committed to raising the share of fuels from renewable sources in transport to 10% by 2020. Concerned with warnings that increased agrifuel production could in fact lead to mass deforestation and food shortages, the EU also agreed a set of sustainability criteria for biofuels.

  • EU Electricity Market Liberalisation

    13-03-2008

    The liberalisation of EU electricity markets is part of a wider move towards a common energy policy - EURACTIV takes a closer look at the liberalisation drive, including power trading and challenges specific to the electricity sector.

  • Energy Technology Research

    12-03-2008

    Speeding up research in low-carbon technologies is considered key to facing the twin challenges of climate change and energy-supply security but the EU is still lagging behind when it comes to big R&D budgets. In November 2007, the Commission tabled a Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) in an attempt to improve collaboration between the EU and member states on the issue.

  • EU climate change policies

    Climate change 06-12-2007

    The EU has implemented a range of policies to combat climate change and deliver on its Kyoto target of 8% CO2 reductions by 2012. As the negotiations for a new climate treaty continue, the EU is now implementing a set of new policies to reach its 2020 goals.

  • The review of the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive

    Transport 29-10-2007

    Petrol and diesel specifications are being reviewed in order to lower their environmental and health impact as well as to take into account new EU-wide targets on biofuels and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

  • Biofuels: The Next Generation

    18-09-2007

    With ethanol and biodiesel coming under increasing criticism for driving up food prices and putting biodiversity at risk, the EU has committed to 'second-generation' biofuels as a clean alternative for transportation - but many challenges remain before they find their way into our cars.

  • The EU’s energy mix: Aiming for diversity

    Special Report | Sustainable Development 31-08-2007

    Securing a diverse energy mix has been identified as a key policy objective in order to shield Europe from potential external energy crises and achieve supply-security and environmental sustainability in the long term.

  • Funding energy efficiency in the EU

    Trade & Society 27-08-2007

    EURACTIV examines the different ways in which energy efficiency improvements are funded in Europe, whereby  EU funds are only a small part of a large equation that includes market-based instruments, bank financing and private sector initiatives.