Germany aims to slash energy consumption by 2020
Ministers will examine ways to slash Germany's consumption of coal, gas and oil by a fifth by 2020 when they meet utility and industry group chiefs on Monday, government sources said on Friday.
There was broad agreement among the participants of the Oct. 9 energy summit that the target to reduce by 20 percent consumption of so-called "primary energy" sources by 2020 was achieveable, the sources said, basing this impression on the results of three working groups which prepared the summit.
A target to cut electricity consumption by 10 percent by 2020, from a 2005 base, would also be discussed at the summit.
The meeting will focus on energy efficiency and international energy security, two themes Chancellor Angela Merkel's government wants to pursue when it takes on the rotating G8 and European Union presidencies next year.
Investment in modern power stations is one means of reducing primary energy consumption that the summit will address. At a meeting in April, utilities pledged to invest more than 30 billion euros ($38.14 billion) in power stations and networks up to 2012.
At the same meeting, energy companies also pledged investments in renewable energies of 33 to 40 billion euros in the same period.
A package on achieving reduced energy consumption should be agreed at another summit with industry chiefs next spring, one government source said.
Monday's meeting will also discuss international energy policy, on which the European Union is expected to produce an action plan early next year, the government sources said.
The flow of Russian gas through Ukraine to western Europe was disrupted in January when Moscow briefly switched off supplies in a dispute over prices with Kiev.
EU energy experts have no immediate concerns about gas supply in the bloc over coming months but cannot rule out problems if the winter is extremely cold, the EU's Gas Coordination Group said on Friday.
The meeting on Monday is set to steer clear of raising the crucial issue of the planned closure of Germany's nuclear power plants as the issue is so controversial that it could test the stability of the ruling conservative/centre-left coalition.