EU urges regional cooperation on energy use

Envoy calls on consumers to "break the monopolies of the energy market worldwides."

Wind Energy 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Wind Energy 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The European Union is working to promote more efficient usage of energy in the Middle East, which will in turn strengthen ties between Israel, Jordan and the EU, Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian said Tuesday. The ambassador, who heads a permanent delegation of the European Commission in Israel, spoke at a conference aimed at turning sustainable energy into "a catalyst for regional economic development." Cibrian noted that the EU, Jordan and Israel share a common problem - that none is self-sufficient in terms of its energy resources. The EU, he said, will reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020. If other industrialized countries are also prepared to reduce their output, the EU promises to minimize its entire energy consumption by a total of 30% by the same year. Furthermore, the delegate explained, the EU expects to draw 20% of its energy from renewable sources such as hydropower, solar energy, and wind. In Israel, renewable resources are expected to comprise two percent of the nation's total energy resource consumption by the end of 2007; this figure is expected to reach 5% by 2016. By "breaking monopolies of the energy market" worldwide, Cibrian noted that all consumers - private or industrial - will have a "choice of products" and a certain "degree of liberalization." According to Cibrian, the EU wishes to enhance its relations with its immediate neighbors, Israel and Jordan. The ambassador introduced the concept of a joint action plan, through which Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority could work together to develop renewable energy resources. "The promotion of energy efficiency," said the ambassador, "lies at the heart of EU efforts today." In order to implement the plan in all its forms, the EU would have to wait until it had "a viable government with which to cooperate," he added, referring to the PA. The conference, the first of its kind, is being held in Eilat and ends today.