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£10.4 trillion needed to stave off global energy crisis

DECADES OF underinvestment in basic energy infrastructure has set the globe on a 'doomed' path that only £10.4 trillion of new investment can solve, energy experts claimed this week.

Frequent blackouts and huge spikes in energy prices will result from a dirty, insecure and expensive global energy market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned at the launch of its World Energy Outlook 2006 in London on Tuesday.

'This energy future is not only unsustainable, it is doomed to failure because of underinvestment in basic energy infrastructure, ' said IEA chief executive Claude Mandil.

'We are on course for an energy system that will evolve from crisis to crisis. This can mean spikes in prices, frequent blackouts, abject energy poverty or all of these, ' he said.

World Energy Outlook is published annually by the IEA and makes predictions and recommendations on energy issues up to 2030.

At last summer's G8 summit at Gleneagles the IEA was asked to look at the policies of governments worldwide in order to nd a way of increasing energy security and cut emissions.

The IEA found that enacting all 1,400 existing government policies would secure energy supplies at a cost of £10.4 trillion. Alternatively, for the same cost, emissions could be cut by 40% by introducing a set of policies described as 'the clean dozen'.

Investment would be split across sectors and global regions. Some 56% of investment would go on electricity transmission, distribution and generation, 40% on oil and gas exploration and re ning, 3% on mining and shipping coal and 1% on bio fuels.

More than half of the global investment is needed in developing countries. China accounts for 18%.

IEA head of economic analysis Fatih Birol claimed that the largest increase in the global energy mix will come from coal.

Birol also warned that decisions and investment made over the next 10 years will affect the market for the next 60.

In its report, the IEA backs new nuclear as an option for stabilising the baseline production and reducing emissions.

For further details see www. nceplus. co. uk

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