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Consumers & clean energy investment key to EU #EnergyUnion

On 8 June, EU Energy Ministers will discuss the European Energy Union. To prepare their meeting, several rounds of drafting the conclusions are taking place. The first draft conclusions were circulated to the delegations on 10 April. The draft is on the ‘Implementation of the Energy Union: empowering consumers and attracting investments in the energy sector’. The first part is about the consumer-oriented implementation of the Energy Union, the second part is about promoting investments required for implementation of the Energy Union. Both parts apply to ‘all five dimensions of the Energy Union’.  The draft ends with next steps and an annex with a timetable.

Highlights

It’s good to see EU Energy Ministers acknowledge that prosumers‘ and clean energy investment are key to the Energy Union. After all, the EU Energy Union is about the transition to a low-carbon economy.

More specifically, the Council recognises that ‘the completion of the internal energy market as well as more efficient energy consumption and renewable energy are the key drivers [..] for increasing energy security.’ Important words and I’m happy to see them. But if EU Energy Ministers really want to implement the Commission’s Energy Union Strategy, they should 100% walk the talk on its motto ‘Efficiency First’.

Next steps

‘The Council:

  1. SUPPORTS the Energy Union 15 action points and CALLS for their swift implementation.
  2. RECALLS that the EU institutions and Member States need to take work forward regarding building an Energy Union and that the Council should report to the European Council before December 2015.
  3. CALLS on the Commission to rapidly present initiatives on the Governance of the Energy Union to be set up swiftly and reported to the European Council in December 2015.
  4. CALLS on the Commission to ensure greater transparency in the composition of energy costs and prices by developing regular and detailed monitoring.
  5. CALLS on the Commission to explore proposals for energy investment regimes that pool resources to finance economically viable investments, avoiding market distortion and fragmentation.’

Re 3. A clear call for rapid proposals on governance: looks like the Council wants to tackle the governance issue head-on. Good. And let’s involve EU Parliament too, shall we?

Re 5. This a crucial phrase that should result in avoiding a lock-in to a fossil fuel future and in avoiding stranded assets due to lower demand: energy investment regimes should ‘finance economically viable investments, avoiding market distortion and fragmentation’. But in order for that to happen, this Council recommendation will have to be much stronger and much more explicit. What about ear-marking a substantial part of the EU Investment Plan for energy efficiency and renewable energy in line with German-French proposal and EU Parliament request? Most importantly: the ‘efficiency first’ principle should guide any energy investment regime. Let’s hope the Council delegations will improve and strengthen this part of the draft. For who wants climate change to get worse? No one. And who wants to pay for stranded assets? Any volunteers? I thought so.

 

For sound advice on EU’s Investment Plan, in particular energy investment regime, see E3G’s briefing.

You can find the draft here.

 

@StollmeyerEU • 14th April 2015


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