Ensuring EU energy security entails making significant changes

Written by Miroslav Poche on 23 December 2016 in Opinion
Opinion

Ensuring the EU's energy security will entail making significant changes, says Miroslav Poche.

Miroslav Poche | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual


If there is something on which modern society and our way of life relies, it is an uninterrupted access to energy. It is the key precondition for our economic growth and our welfare. 

Ensuring reliable and affordable supplies of energy to European households and industry is indeed one of the main goals of the energy union, which has been gradually brought to life over the past two years. 

In order to achieve this, we need to build a robust and resilient EU energy system which can reduce our vulnerability to external factors. However there is no silver bullet available which can solve all challenges linked to energy security. 


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It is not simply about solving our dependency on a single supplier, especially Russia, or reducing the risks associated which growing amount of gas and oil we import from unstable regions as some might suggest. We should remain realistic. 

We will have to ensure access to fossil fuels in the medium-term. However, we should not unnecessarily prolong our dependence on these unsustainable resources. This is not a long-term solution to our future energy needs. 

I believe that energy security is a much more complex problem than guaranteeing access to these two commodities. In general it is about gradual transformation of the energy system to ensure that its individual components cannot jeopardise the functioning of the whole. 

In order to do so, our energy production and consumption patterns will have to change substantially. 

We will need to invest in new generation of technologies, such as renewable production of electricity, energy storage, alternative fuels, smart appliances or more efficient houses and machines, which can fully tap the potential of sustainable and secure energy resources in the Union, as well as significantly decrease energy intensity of our economy. 

At the same time, the development of modern energy infrastructure has to be significantly accelerated. Using smart grids can increase the stability and reliability of the energy network to a great extent. It also allows consumers to play a more important role in the energy market, either through their participation on production or through more efficient and sustainable control of their consumption. 

All these are central elements of a truly resilient future energy system for the European Union. In this context, the energy winter package recently presented by the Commission represents another step on our way towards the above mentioned goal. 

I am convinced that it includes some of the most important pieces of legislation for increasing the Union´s energy security this Parliament will adopt. 

Especially the revision of renewable energy and energy efficiency directives represents an opportunity to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, hence, increase our energy security. If they are to really contribute to that, we have to find balance between realism and ambition.  

 

About the author

Miroslav Poche (CZ) is Parliament's S&D group shadow rapporteur on a European energy security strategy

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