EU exec wants green energy subsidies aligned, raised

BRUSSELS Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:08am EST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The EU's executive called for member states to align their subsidies for renewable energy and ensure a doubling of overall investment to 70 billion euros ($95 billion) a year to meet climate and energy security goals. The strategy came ahead of a meeting on Friday where leaders will try to reconcile an EU target of getting 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 with a debt crisis that has pushed some countries to the financial brink.

"The Commission calls on the member states to... ensure a doubling of annual capital investments in renewable energy from 35 billion euros per year to 70 billion euros," the Commission, which initiates EU law, said in a statement on Monday.

It said that while the EU remains on track to meet its renewable targets in 2020, most of the EU's 27 states missed their indicative annual targets in 2010.

Wind power construction slowed by about one tenth last year, an industry body, the European Wind Energy Association, said on Monday.

"If member states work together and produce renewable energy where it costs less, companies, consumers and the taxpayer will benefit from this," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement.

His team estimated that unraveling the tangle of Europe's national subsidies could lead to overall savings of about 10 billion euros a year.

"While different financial instruments are used in all member states to develop renewable energy -- grants, loans, feed-in tariffs, certificate regimes etc. -- their management needs to be improved," said a Commission statement.

"Investors need greater coherence, clarity and certainty," it added.

(Reporting by Pete Harrison; editing by Rex Merrifield; editing by Keiron Henderson)