Organised by the European Commission, this year’s European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is to be held in Brussels from 24 to 28 June.
Every year since it was first held in 2006, the Sustainable Energy Week has brought together hundreds of organisations (with 30,000 participants from more than forty countries in 2012) which, through their contributions, aim to help towards achieving the European Union’s energy objectives for constructing a more sustainable future. These include showing, promoting and analysing energy efficiency and adhering to a roadmap with a renewable energy target, according to which, by 2020, Member States will produce 20% of their energy consumption needs in the form of renewable energy, as well as reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption levels by 20%.
Is it feasible to aim for a sustainable Europe by 2050?
While 2020 may appear to be a date that gives sufficient time for the implementation of the European Union plans, at the beginning of this month of February 2013 the Committee of the Regions (CoR) called on the EU to look beyond 2020 and to “commit to developing a long-term strategy that enables renewable energy to become a real competitor and truly alternative energy source for the years to come”. Moreover, the Committee also suggests that the EU should consider the possibility of becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2050.
In a communiqué issued on 1 February this year, the CoR lists the actions that need to be carried out in order to accomplish this ambitious goal:
- the establishment of a European fund to support renewable energy sources;
- coordination at European level;
- increasing the role of regions;
- multi-management of the schemes;
- offering subsidies;
- the development of infrastructure providing improved electricity grids and smart grids;
- sharing the costs fairly among the EU Member States.
Furthermore, the Committee notes that “the importance of cross-border and inter-regional cooperation should also not be underestimated. Considerable investment in infrastructure – in terms of upgrading energy networks – is needed to broaden the access to renewable energy. Often renewable energy sources are not located close to final consumers so investment is urgently needed to broaden distribution.”
The European Commission will award prizes to the best projects.
As has now become a tradition, the organisers of the Sustainable Energy Week have called for entries in a competition in which this year’s awards will be given to the best European projects for energy efficiency, sources of renewable energy and “clean” transport. Two categories have been established. The first is addressed to companies in the public and private sectors, academic institutions and NGOs, while the aim of the second is to recognise achievements in the field by public authorities and energy agencies. The deadline for submission of projects is 8 March 2013.
High Level Policy Conference
During this year’s Sustainable Energy Week, which is titled “One Small Step from You, One Giant Leap for Europe” some forty conferences will be held under the auspices of the “High Level Policy Conference” from 25 to 27 June (http://www.eusew.eu/energy-days/high-level-policy-conference).