Energy Policy

Fukushima, one year on

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Until 11 March 2011, Fukushima was associated with luck - the name means 'good-fortune-island'. Scenic routes along the coast attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists every year but then the tsunami caused by an...

EU carbon-emissions tax conflict continues

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The 'conflict' over the new EU Emissions Trading Scheme, between the EU and more than 20 countries including China, Russia and the United States continues, with seven major aviation companies joining the fray. In a...

Beyond Fukushima

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VIENNA – Nuclear power has become safer since the devastating accident one year ago at Fukushima, Japan. It will become safer still in the coming years, provided that governments, plant operators and regulators do...

EU seeks to launch ‘project bond’ scheme

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With public money becoming a scarce resource, the EU is looking to launch its ‘project bond’  scheme, that it hopes will boost long-term private investment to infrastructure, and bring demand to the capital debt...

The post-nuclear transition

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BERLIN – The Fukushima disaster in March reminded the world, 25 years after Chernobyl, that nuclear energy is anything but clean, secure, and affordable. Unfortunately, another nuclear catastrophe was needed to trigger a fresh...

China to cut energy consumption by 21 %

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The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on 27 February that China will cut energy consumption by 21% by 2015 and will shut down inefficient companies in more than ten...

Commission calls on Cyprus, Romania and Italy to adopt energy-labelling legislation

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The European Commission is sending reasoned opinions to Cyprus, Romani and Italy, urging the member states to adopt consumer-friendly legislation regarding energy labelling. The infringement procedures relate to the Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU, which covers...

Moscow meeting opposes EU carbon-emissions tax

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A meeting concerning a carbon-emissions tax for airlines using EU airspace has been held this week in Moscow. Thirty-two countries took part, including China, the United States, Brazil, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa and Argentina....

Iran concerns push oil prices towards $124

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On 24 February, Brent oil prices rose towards $124 a barrel and was heading for a fifth straight weekly gain driven by concern over cuts in Iranian supply. On 19 February, Iran halted oil shipments...

TAP, Nabucco and SEEP still in EU pipeline race

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On 20 February Shah Deniz, the consortium developing the field in the Azerbaijani area of the Caspian basin, excluded the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) project from those being considered to carry its gas to Europe,...

Time running out for energy efficiency deal?

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An EU-wide deal on energy efficiency could be delayed as the European Parliament continues last-minute manoeuvres ahead of crucial talks. The deal, which would see member states increase their energy efficiency by 20% as part...

The sustainability mindset

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MILAN – Markets and capitalist incentives have great strengths in promoting economic efficiency, growth, and innovation. And, as Ben Friedman of Harvard University argued persuasively in his 2006 book The Moral Consequences of Growth,...

Lighting the ‘Dark Continent’

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NAIROBI – Nineteenth-century European explorers called Africa the 'Dark Continent', because to them it was vast and largely unknown. Today, Africa may still be dark, but for a very different reason: it is chronically...

Israel’s prime minister visits Cyprus

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Isreal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has paid a one-day visit to Cyprus, in a move that highlights the dispute over Mediterranean gas-drilling rights. During his meeting with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias, Netanyahu negotiated the question...

EU ‘is prepared for Iran oil suspension’

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Iran's English-language Press TV announced on 15 February that the country was ready to suspend oil deliveries to France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Netherlands and Spain, but Iran's oil ministry denied the...

Germany’s sunshine daydream

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COPENHAGEN – One of the world’s biggest green-energy public-policy experiments is coming to a bitter end in Germany, with important lessons for policymakers elsewhere. Germany once prided itself on being the 'photovoltaic world champion', doling...

Gazprom: ‘Winter proves need for South Stream’

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On 15 February, Russian energy monopoly Gazprom said that will make a final investment decision on the South Stream gas pipeline project across the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe, bypassing Ukraine, in...

Commission introduces bio-economy strategy

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The European Commission has called for more funds and better regulation for sustainable job sectors, in adopting a new strategy for a sustainable European bio-economy on 13 February. The bio-economy is defined by the Commission...

Central Asia, Iran and Turkey in gas power struggle

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This winter has been a serious test of strength, not only for electric power systems in Central Asia, but also for their good relations with neighbours. Unprecedented cold in February affected not only Europe, where...

Cold weather allows Gazprom to drive its point home

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On 7 February, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said that there are no shortages of its gas supplies to Europe as a cold front swept across the continent. “At this very moment, there are no shortages...

Sartori: ‘A mistake to seek only one solution’ [INTERVIEW]

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New Europe: Will you tell us about the important issues that your committee is set to discuss? AS: From now until 2014, the ITRE Commission will be undertaking a great deal of work, with important...

South Sudan facing crisis

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South Sudan, which came into being in July 2011, is facing a humanitarian crisis according to United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Valerie Amos. Speaking in Jonglei state, where recent...

Coryton receives shipment despite bankruptcy

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Work will continue at the Coryton Refinery in Essex, UK in spite of the bankruptcy of its parent company, the Swiss-owned Petroplus. A cargo of oil was delivered to the refinery on 31 January, one...

Report: EU biofuel target could cost consumers up to €126 billion

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The European Union’s biofuel target, which dictates that 10% of all transportation energy should come from renewable sources by 2020, could cost European consumers anything between €94-126 billion without reducing emissions, according to a...

Energy policy needs ‘more Europe’ [EXCLUSIVE]

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In spite of the progress made over recent years, the European Union’s policy on energy issues has failed to achieve its main objectives: ensuring access to energy at reasonable and stable prices; maintaining the...

EU vows to strengthen its energy bargaining position

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On 24 January, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger stressed the importance of ensuring reliable energy supplies at affordable prices, saying that "member states will achieve more by working together". Creating legal certainty for all investors is...

‘Fuels of the Future’

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On the occasion of the annual Fuels of the Future conference (Berlin, 23-24 January) representatives from the European biofuels industry gathered in Berlin, Germany. The principal organisers of the two-day conference were the German Bioenergy...

Commission seeks alternatives after EU embargo on Iranian oil

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The European Commission is looking at where alternative oil supplies could come from following the embargo on Iranian oil imports to the European Union agreed by EU foreign ministers on 23 January 2012, and...

Bankruptcy is ‘immediate threat’ to jobs and petrol supplies says UK MEP

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Following the 24 January announcement that the Swiss parent company responsible for Britain's Coryton oil refinery has filed for bankruptcy, local MEP Richard Howitt, who has campaigned against the threat to 1,000 jobs at...

EU green energy ‘to withstand economic crisis’

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The Danish prime minister has said that her government's EU Presidency will not let the economic crisis stop Europe from maintaining its position of leadership on green technologies. Responding to a question from New Europe...

EU urges fair elections as contenders enter Russian presidential race

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On the evening of 18 January, Russia’s Central Election Commission in Moscow stopped accepting applications from independent candidates for the presidential poll while European parliamentarians in Strasbourg expressed their hope that the country will...

Financial crisis hits petrol as leading refiner sees credit status downgraded

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A leading MEP has warned that petrol pumps in parts of Europe may dry up in the coming weeks as Europe’s largest independent refiner, Petroplus; fights off bankruptcy after Standard and Poor’s rating agency...

Trans-Anatolia, Nabucco and South Stream pipelines bet on Turkey

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Competition in the so-called Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe is heating up. In December, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed an agreement to build a pipeline to carry natural gas to...

Rio +20

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In the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the Global Meeting for the Sustainability, a formal United Nations project that intends to develop a strategic agenda towards world sustainability will be...

ASN urges French nuclear plants to improve safety

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On 3 January, Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) as part of an inspection of France's nuclear industry in the light of the 11 March nuclear disaster in Fukushima, called on France’s nuclear plants to increase...

Greece speeds up oil and gas exploration

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Debt-stricken Greece, which currently has the least exploration for hydrocarbons in the region, is vowing to exploit its oil and gas reserves. On 2 January, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) invited...

Russia-Turkey deal on South Stream dashes Ukraine’s hopes

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On 28 December, Turkey gave its formal permission to build the South Stream gas pipeline through its Exclusive Economic Zone for transporting Russian gas into European markets. The heads of the state-owned Russian energy...