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EU-US Energy Council Launched

bridges vol. 24, December 2009 / Institutions & Organizations

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The EU-US Energy Council was launched in Washington, DC, with the aim of providing a new framework for tightening transatlantic dialogue on energy issues. The council will address, on a strategic level, topics on energy security supply and policies to promote low carbon energy sources, while strengthening the ongoing scientific collaboration on sustainable and clean energy technologies.

The initial meeting included the Commissioners for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and Research, Janez Potocnik, with the US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg to launch the EU-US Energy Council. The work of the council will be structured through working groups of senior officials from both sides that will focus on energy policies, global energy security, and global markets, and energy technologies research cooperation.

 

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Acknowledging that the policy issues of energy and climate change are intrinsically linked, the EU-US Council will not be a forum for climate change negotiations. Where deemed appropriate, the Council would complement the multilateral work on transformational energy technologies, as under the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.

The US and the EU have a long history of cooperation on energy policies and on energy R&D. Under the Obama administration, new opportunities for further cooperation have opened. Established this November, the council members are composed on the EU side of Commissioners for External Relations, for Energy, and for Science and Research, as well as the EU Presidency. On the US side, the members comprise the Secretaries of State and of Energy. They will meet annually in the EU or US, alternating locations and reporting to the EU-US Summit.  

The European Commission expects the council to achieve several objectives:

·    Develop the transatlantic perspective on global energy security, including transparent energy markets, diversification of supplies, vital energy infrastructure needs, and equitable access to energy in developing countries;

·    Embark on a deeper exchange on energy policies, including areas critical within the climate change equation such as renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency;

·    Work together towards the mutual/reciprocal opening of funding of R&D energy programs across the Atlantic;

·    Deepen ongoing joint research and development of low carbon energy technologies and broaden cooperation to new areas, in particular smart grids, energy efficient building technologies, and new materials for energy applications;

·    Start new EU-US cooperation on promotion and dissemination of existing and expanding energy technology.


The pre-established cooperations on existing areas such as solar power, hydrogen and fuel cells, bioenergy, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy (both fusion and fission) will continue and deepen between the EU and US. In addition, this cooperation will be extended within the next few years to new strategic areas in order of priority: smart grids, energy efficient buildings, and advanced materials for energy applications.



Sources:

"Europa - Press Releases - New EU-US Energy Council to boost transatlantic energy cooperation." <http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?
reference=IP/09/1674&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN
> (accessed Dec. 15, 2009).

"Europa - Press Releases - Q&A: EU-US Energy Council."
<http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?
reference=MEMO/09/490&format=H
> (accessed Dec. 14, 2009).


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