EC launches green tech push

The European Commission is to encourage more research and create business opportunities around low-carbon technologies
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The European Commission has launched an initiative to promote the development of low-carbon technology.

The Commission has proposed a twin-track approach to developing green technology — stronger research, and the creation of business opportunities in those technologies. Details of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan were revealed on Thursday.

"Reinforced research has to lower costs and improve performance [of green tech]," stated the Towards a Low Carbon Future document. "Proactive support measures are to create business opportunities, stimulate market development and address the non-technological barriers that discourage innovation and the market deployment of efficient and low-carbon technologies."

An over-reliance on readily available fossil fuels has tempered the interest for innovation and investment in new energy technologies, and led to the lack of a short-term business case for investment in more expensive, ecologically friendly technology, said the Commission.

The Commission has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, and to ensure 20 percent of renewable energy sources in the "EU energy mix". It also plans to reduce EU global primary energy use by 20 percent by 2020.

To meet the targets, the challenges the Commission has set itself are to make biofuels competitive alternatives to fossil fuels; enable CO2 capture, transport and storage; double the power-generation capacity of the largest wind farms, with an emphasis on offshore; demonstrate commercial readiness of large-scale solar power; enable a single, smart European electricity grid able to accommodate the integration of renewable and decentralised energy sources; bring more efficient energy conversion to mass market and end-user devices; and maintain the usage of nuclear technologies, together with long-term radioactive waste management.

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