Central Europe Needs $554 Billion in Energy Spending, Lobby Says

Central Europe needs 400 billion euros ($554 billion) of investment in energy by 2020, and fossil fuels must remain part of Europe’s energy mix, the head of an industry group said.

A switch to a zero-carbon economy is “neither economical nor justified from the energy-security perspective,” said Pawel Olechnowicz, who heads Central Europe Energy Partners. Olechnowicz, also chief executive officer of Polish refiner Grupa Lotos SA, made the remarks in a statement after a closed meeting with European Union Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger in Bucharest today.

As Europe seeks to reduce its energy dependence on Russia and increase output from renewable sources, countries including later EU entrants Romania and Bulgaria have struggled to secure investments to upgrade outdated infrastructure while keeping down costs for users.

EU guidelines “must allow member states to exempt energy-intensive industries from national decarbonization surcharges,” Olechnowicz said. “The exemptions would play an essential role in maintaining the competitiveness of European industry on a global scale and preventing broader domestic price hikes in goods and services.”

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