EU energy security 'simply not good enough'

Written by Morten Helveg Petersen on 26 January 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

As Morten Helveg Petersen gears up to host a workshop in parliament on energy efficiency, he explains why the issue is so important for European competitiveness.

This week I am set to host a high-level workshop on the issue of energy security. How can we make sure that no EU-citizen will have their power or heat turned off? How can we become independent from Russian gas and Middle Eastern oil? And how can we do this without destroying our climate with pollution from coal? These are among the important questions that EU policymakers will struggle with over the next couple of months. 

Parliament is drafting a report on these difficult questions, on which I am shadow rapporteur for the ALDE group. This is an extremely important task, because we are currently confronted with three interlinked problems in the field of energy. 

First, the world faces the threat of man-made global warming. Even if we do not deal with the issue for ourselves, we must do so for the generations to come. Second, the EU's energy security is simply not good enough. We import over 50 per cent of the energy we consume. Third, the EU is in competition with the rest of the world - we need to have an affordable and reliant energy system. 

"Instead of wasting over €1bn each day on energy resource imports, we could use that money to invest in insulation of our walls and thicker windows to keep our buildings warm"

The workshop, 'EU energy security strategy - how to use less Russian gas', will address these problems and more specifically how we can develop models for business and citizens which contribute to a global solution. 

By using less energy, we can contribute to the alleviation of all three problems. And this does not mean that we need to abandon our current lifestyle. By focusing on using energy more efficiently, we can lower energy consumption which in turn will lower energy bills, dependency on fuels and overall CO2 emissions.

By bringing together key industry stakeholders in the energy efficiency business and key policy makers - such as European commissioner for energy union Maroš Šefčovič and Nato security expert Jamie Shea - this workshop will provide an insight into solving our energy dependency problem, without sacrificing competitiveness or abandoning our struggle to combat climate change. 

Energy efficiency has great potential, and is the first and best energy source. For every one per cent increase in energy efficiency, import of natural gas falls by 2.6 per cent, according to the commission. 
Other calculations made by the European alliance to save energy show that we can create over 1.5 million jobs if we invest in energy efficiency and reduce our energy consumption by 30 per cent. 

Instead of wasting over €1bn each day on energy resource imports, we could use that money to invest in insulation of our walls and thicker windows to keep our buildings warm. 

Renovation and infrastructure projects create jobs locally and benefit both large and small companies in Europe - it's a win-win situation.

The workshop will take place in the European parliament in room JAN4Q1, 28 January from 16.30 to 18.30.

About the author

Morten Helveg Petersen is a vice-chair of parliament's industry, research and energy committee

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