Winter package: EU doesn't need 'one-size-fits-all' energy approach

Written by Gert De Block on 24 March 2017 in Thought Leader
Thought Leader

The EU doesn't need a 'one-size-fits-all' energy approach, explains Gert De Block.

Gert De Block | Photo credit: CEDEC


I welcome the EU's goal to reconcile energy and climate targets in a package that will put energy efficiency first, develop more sustainable energy sources, and change the energy market design where necessary to deliver energy transition at the lowest societal cost. 

At CEDEC, we support the European Commission's objective of adapting different parts of the existing legislative framework to deliver a more sustainable energy system, built on citizens' engagement and customers' trust.

As local energy companies, operating close to citizens and customers, we believe we need to boost the local dimension, with concrete measures that promote decentralised and integrated solutions, linking electricity, gas and heating and cooling.


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A particular challenge for a new market design is to create a level playing field between established and new market actors, in both the generation and the supply of energy products and services.

A truly competitive and flexible internal energy market can only function if all actors - big and small - actively participate, with a clear definition of their roles and responsibilities, with distribution system operators (DSOs) as market facilitators.

EU legislation must find the right balance between market-based approaches, that can contribute to lower costs and innovation, and effective regulation, which is at times needed to overcome market failures and to realise objectives of general social and economic interest.

I also fully support the role of DSOs in facilitating data management and data communication between customers, prosumers and market actors, guaranteeing the privacy and security of customer data. All this to enable the provision of new data-based energy services, where necessary in cooperation with transmission system operators (TSOs).

As energy supply becomes increasingly distributed - produced in smaller quantities and closer to customers - the balancing of demand and supply becomes an increasingly local issue. To avoid congestion on local grids, DSOs must be able to organise the flexibility they need. 

Energy storage is an option for increasing the cost-efficient reliability of smart distribution grids while avoiding congestion and maintaining system stability. In order to use electric vehicles as a flexible storage solution. DSOs can enable the deployment of public charging infrastructure.

I am convinced that subsidiarity and the need for proportionality of EU legislation is key to achieving a cost-efficient decentralising energy market. 

While supporting better interconnections and considering a European dimension where useful, member states must be allowed to take into account the characteristics of their national energy landscape, with its current and future energy mix, the potential of renewable and local resources and existing details of market design. The EU doesn't need 'one-size fits all' solutions, it needs sufficient room for subsidiarity.

 

About the author

Gert De Block is Secretary General of the European Federation of Local Energy Companies (CEDEC)

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