The EU has adopted an ambitious goal of reducing energy consumption, lowering emissions and increasing the use of renewable resources all by 20 percent by 2020.
To meet those goals, the EU can promote technological advances through research funding or indirectly through legislation, writes EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs on his Web site.
Piebalgs points to $5 billion set aside for the next year to promote various energy projects but touts political leverage as a motivational resource.
"Legislation can also be a great tool to nudge companies in the right direction," he writes.
He notes legislation enacted by the EU to tighten emissions standards is prompting the automotive industry to adopt greener technology as a non-economic factor contributing to the goals of the 2020 agenda.
Legislation "on products that are more energy-efficient is proving to be a win-win situation for everyone involved," Piebalgs concludes.