High-level summit lays out future EU energy policy

Written by Mate Csicsai and Sophie Bolla on 29 February 2016 in News
News

MEPs, Commission officials and industry leaders use business summit to discuss implications of COP21 agreement for European energy policy.

MEPs, business and civil society leaders and senior Commission officials have used the second EU Energy Summit as a platform to discuss the challenges for European energy policy following the Paris COP21 climate change conference. COP21 saw governments around the globe agree a long-term goal of keeping the increase in the global average temperature “well below 2°C”.

Panellists included Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and energy Director-General Dominique Ristori, as well as Chair of the Parliament’s industry committee Jerzy Buzek.

Despite the ambitious targets, the COP21 agreement is light on detail of technical issues and implementation.


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EU energy policy needs to be reassessed both in response to the Paris agreement and in light of historically low oil prices.

The Commission is about to publish its own assessment of the implications of what Paris means for the EU 2030 climate and energy targets. This will outline the proposed legislative measures for this year. These include proposals on effort sharing, a communication for decarbonising the transport sector and a review of the energy efficiency and the renewables directives.

By the end of the year, the European Commission will also table proposals to reshape the electricity market in another push towards more sustainable energy. Dominique Ristori said; “Energy market design is an emerging concept and the rest of the world is looking at the EU, waiting for its response to this new global trend.”

The Commission has already proposed to revise its flagship emissions trading system (ETS) mechanism in driving down emissions from the energy sector. In addition, the so-called EU “energy security package”, presented in February, reflects the potential importance of gas in Europe’s energy transition in bridging from more polluting fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.

The summit showed that both the EU and industry understand the need for a more suitable framework for integrating renewables that sends clear price signals to investors and creates an EU-wide electricity market of secure, clean and affordable supplies.

It is likely to prove a decisive year for European energy policy. The Commission and co-legislators will be working to ensure the security of gas supply, while simultaneously pushing for decarbonisation by trying to take a step forward on renewables and energy efficiency.

In the meantime, industry seems to be slowly embracing the concept of change. However, views differ on an ideal price for carbon under the ETS and how those sectors not covered by its scope should make their contributions.

About the author

Mate Csicsai and Sophie Bolla are members of the Dods EU monitoring team

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