The European Commission said it would promote information and communications technologies to help cut EU energy use by 20 percent by 2020.
In a report accompanying the announcement the Commission says it will encourage the ICT sector, which accounts for two percent of global CO2 emissions, to lead the drive toward carbon neutrality and reduce its own CO2 emissions by identifying and creating solutions that will benefit the whole economy.
Without action, the EU’s energy consumption is expected to rise by as much as 25 percent by 2012, which would increase EU emissions despite renewable energy targets, according to the report.
The Commission said it will focus on the following three energy intensive sectors:
- Energy generation and distribution, which uses one third of all primary energy. Electricity generation can be made 40 percent more efficient and its transport and distribution by 10 percent. ICT could make the management of power grids more efficient and facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources.
- The heating, cooling and lighting of buildings, which accounts for more than 40% of European energy consumption. ICT can optimize lighting, ventilation and equipment performance and provide consumers real-time updates on their energy consumption to stimulate behavioral changes.
- Lighting, which accounts for 20 percent of world electricity use. Changing to energy efficient light bulbs could halve today’s energy consumption for lighting by 2025.
The Commission saw mixed reactions earlier this year from industry and government to new emissions targets, a call on EU members to increase their use of renewable energy and plans to make industry pay for the right to pollute.