Oil and Industry

Energy 02-06-2012

Cutting energy use in Europe’s old building stock: Mission impossible?

Buildings account for over 40% of the EU's final energy demand and are a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, making energy savings there a key element of European climate change objectives. However, it remains to be seen whether Europeans will be able to tap into the area with the single biggest potential the existing building stock.

Keeping cool with refrigerants: The F-gas review

Fluorinated gases power the world's refrigerants and air conditioning systems, and make up around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But if business continues as usual, by 2050 they could be responsible for between 9%-19% of global emissions, prompting EU policymakers to take action to contain leakage or even ban their use.
Med & South 11-10-2010

Europe’s southern gas corridor: The great pipeline race

Several pipeline projects are competing with one another to bring to life the southern gas corridor – a vague blueprint to supply Europe with gas from the Caspian and the Middle East. EURACTIV takes a look at the various European initiatives, including their common competitor: Russia's South Stream project.
Energy 01-09-2010

Energy efficiency: The EU’s new action plan

The European Union has proposed new energy efficiency measures to make good on its pledge to combat climate change and reduce its dependency on imported oil and gas.
Energy 09-04-2010

Biogas: The green gas?

Biogas has become an attractive alternative source of energy in Europe as the renewable fuel serves several policy priorities, ranging from increased domestic energy production to the reduction of greenhouse gases and more efficient waste treatment.
Energy 17-02-2010

Europe switches to gas

A relatively abundant, cheap and clean source of energy, natural gas is becoming an increasingly essential part of Europe's energy mix, winning supporters for a variety of uses ranging from power generation, household heating and transport to fertiliser, plastics, and other manufacturing products.
Energy 06-11-2009

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

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.
Energy 20-08-2009

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

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.
Climate change 04-03-2009

Cities and climate change

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 12-02-2009

Energy pricing: Fixed rate or free-market?

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.

Energy and climate change: Towards an integrated EU policy

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".
Energy 19-05-2008

Liberalisation of the EU gas sector

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.
Transport 29-10-2007

The review of the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive

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.
Energy 20-07-2007

Energy efficiency action plan

Europe has embarked on an ambitious plan to cut its energy consumption by 20% by 2020 in a bid to reduce its dependency on imported oil and gas and slash its energy bill by an estimated 100 billion euro every year. If it delivers, the plan would also prevent 780 million tonnes of CO2 from being emitted in the atmosphere, or twice the amount the EU agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol.
Energy 23-05-2007

Green buildings

Buildings account for over 40% of the EU's final energy demand and are a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, making energy-savings there a key element of the European climate change strategy.
Central Europe 10-01-2007

Geopolitics of EU energy supply

As one of the world's largest importers of oil, gas and coal, the EU is a major player on the international energy market - However, it remains a dwarf on the political stage as member states keep the upper hand on foreign policy. With external dependence on imports forecast to grow steadily, the EU has started to integrate energy aspects into relations with third countries. EURACTIV brings an overview of relations with key regions for supply and transit.

Energy Green Paper: What energy policy for Europe?

The Commission opened the debate on a future common European Energy Policy with the publication of a 'Green Paper' in March 2006. Suggestions include completing the opening of European gas and electricity markets and stepping up relations with major suppliers such as Russia and OPEC. Other key suggestions include boosting renewable energies, energy efficiency, and research on low-carbon technologies. However, EU member states have already made clear that they would not tolerate interference with national sovereignty, especially when it comes to taking sensitive political decisions such as opting for nuclear power.
Agrifood 04-01-2007

Biomass Action Plan

Bioenergies are derived from wood, waste and agricultural crops for transport uses (biofuels). Currently, the EU meets about 4% of its energy needs from biomass. The main objective of the Biomass Action Plan, put forward in December 2005, is to double this share by 2010. The plan would reduce oil imports by 8%, prevent greenhouse gas emissions worth 209 million tons CO2-equivalent per year and create up to 300,000 new jobs in the agricultural and forestry sector.
Energy 23-10-2006

EU-Russia Energy Dialogue

The EU-25 is dependent on Russia for 25% of its gas and 25% of its oil. Conversely, sales of raw materials to the EU provide most of Russia's foreign currency and contribute to over 40% of the Russian federal budget. In October 2000, the EU and Russia agreed to start an Energy Dialogue dealing with issues such as security of supply, energy efficiency, infrastructure (e.g. pipelines), investments and trade.
Brexit 10-10-2006

Carbon capture and storage

Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and storing it underground is seen as a crucial technology to reduce the global warming impact of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, on which the world will continue to rely for decades.
Trade & Society 02-08-2006

Energy, competitiveness and the environment

A group of top regulators and industry executives operates at EU level to advise the Commission on policy initiatives related to energy, competitiveness and the environment. The need for massive new energy infrastructure investments and shortcomings in EU gas and electricity markets feature among the topics being dealt with by the group. The EU emissions trading scheme is also being reviewed to make sure it does not put European industries at a disadvantage to international competitors.
Climate change 11-04-2006

Fluorinated gases and climate change

EU lawmakers in January 2006 struck an agreement on a proposal to cut down emissions of fluorinated gases as part of the Kyoto protocol on climate change. F-gases are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning but have a high global warming potential and can sometimes stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. The agreement mainly seeks to improve the containment and recovery of F-gases and imposes regular checks on industrial refrigeration installations. After much discussion, the compromise allows countries like Denmark and Austria to maintain stricter controls than elsewhere in Europe until 2012. A phase-out of HFC-134a in car air conditioning has also been approved as of 2011 with a complete ban applying from 2017.
Climate change 24-02-2006

Alternative fuels for transport

To improve security of energy supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the EU has set itself the objective of a 10% substitution of traditional fuels in the road transport sector (gasoline and conventional diesel) by alternative fuels before the year 2020. Three alternative solutions are seen as promising: biofuels, natural gas and hydrogen.
Energy 07-02-2006

Energy end-use efficiency and energy services

A directive on energy end-use efficiency and energy services was adopted in December 2005. The directive requires member states to draw up national action plans to achieve 1% yearly energy savings in the retail, supply and distribution of electricity, natural gas, urban heating, and other energy products including transport fuels. The 1% target is only indicative but the national action plans will need approval from the Commission and will be reviewed every three years. The process will be spread over nine years, starting in January 2008.