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Leaked: draft ‘State of the EU #EnergyUnion’

On Wednesday 18 November the European Commission will present the first so-called ‘State of the Energy Union‘. A draft of this document was leaked to me last week (28 October 2015).

The draft has 14 pages (plus cover page). Its structure:

  1. Introduction (p 1)
  2. Decarbonisation of the economy – addressing climate change (p 1)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
    3. Policy conclusions at Member State, regional and EU levels
  3. Energy efficiency as a contribution to the moderation of energy demand (p 4)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
    3. Policy conclusions at Member State, regional and EU levels
  4. A fully-integrated internal energy market – Free flow of energy across Europe (p 6)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
    3. Policy conclusions at Member State, regional and EU levels
  5. Energy security, solidarity and trust (p 9)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
    3. Policy conclusions at Member State, regional and EU levels
  6. An Energy Union for research, innovation and competitiveness (p 11)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
    3. Policy conclusions at Member State, regional and EU levels
  7. Implementation of the Energy Union (p 14)
    1. Progress made
    2. Way forward
  8. Conclusions and way forward (p 14)

Comments*

  1. As expected, the State of the Energy Union is essentially a communications tool.  It is the EU Commission getting all of its ducks in a row, and in one place, but – as far as we can see in first reading – there is nothing new to it.
  2. There is no consideration of the overall adequacy of the EU’s plans as compared to the action needed to tackle climate change.  This is not a step back to look at ‘Are we doing what we need to be doing?‘ – this is a summary of ‘Are we doing what we said we would do – regardless of whether that is enough?
  3. It has an extremely positive view on the certainty of the impact of EU Commission action. For example, the Heating & Cooling Strategy (just a strategy) ‘should ensure that the European Union takes full benefit of the potential for a smart transformation of this sector’.
  4. Most, if not all, shortcomings are put firmly at the door of underachieving EU Member States, while the EU Commission is painted as doing everything possible to decarbonise the EU.
  5. Good to see this re-confirmed: ‘The Energy Union Strategy wants to further move away from an economy driven by fossil fuels.’
  6. Contradicting its own strategy however, the State of the Energy Union is still mainly focused on gas. Is gas not considered a fossil fuel? Reminder: EU gas demand is going down. So there is little need – if at all – for new big infrastructure projects with EU public money. (It will be interesting to see if the second list of Projects of Common Interest, expected on the same day, will focus more on electricity wires or gas pipes.) In the security chapter focus is almost exclusively on gas, without any mention of how energy efficiency and renewables structurally improve energy security, nor any mention of potential risks of fossil fuel lock-in.
  7. The draft fails to mention that, while global green energy project finance is up 21%, in the EU it is down 38% to a 3 year low.
  8. The draft fails to properly define the goal of ‘becoming world’s number one in renewable energies‘. The relevant parts of EU Commission President Juncker’s agenda clearly show he meant this goal to be about the deployment of renewables: ‘Europe relies too heavily on fuel and gas imports. […] We need to strengthen the share of renewable energies on our continent. […] I therefore want Europe’s Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies.’
  9. There is not a single mention of coal or solid fuel in the whole State of the Energy Union – and therefore no mention of how to reduce its use. Coal is the main source of emissions in Europe and is blocking investments in renewables due to overcapacity in the power sector. This can no longer be ignored.
  10. Oil gets one mention and there is no strategy at all on how to deal with oil or reduce EU’s dependency. If EU Commission is serious about the transition to a low-carbon Energy Union, away from fossil fuels, it should dare to name the problems.
  11. The draft claims that ‘diesel technology has offered better carbon dioxide emission reductions than petrol technology and has therefore been important for achieving the EU’s climate targets.’ This is incorrect. Analysis shows: real-world emissions of cars sold in 2014 put diesel vehicles’ at 170 g/km and petrol cars’ at only 168g/km – a gap of more than 2 g/km in favour of petrol.
  12. The draft does not mention the possibility of an 30% energy efficiency target, which – according to Commissioner Canete and DG Climate – the EU Commission is currently working on. The draft just takes the old EU Commission proposal and Council conclusions on 2030 targets as definitive, without any mention of EU Parliament’s role as co-legislator.
  13. While the EU Commission is pushing a ‘dynamic ambition mechanism’ and 5-year reviews as part of its COP21 position, there is no clear sense of how this will be reflected domestically, including in the National Energy & Climate Plans. EU Commission should avoid the lock-in of low ambition in the national plans.

Looking forward to read the next, improved draft!

* Many thanks for input: WWF, ECF, E3G, T&E.

Document

You can find the draft document here. If this blog is the first place you saw it, then please use its original source when sharing it, that is: please share this blog, not just the Google doc. Many thanks!

climateenergyenergy efficiencyEU Energy UnionEU ETSinnovationrenewables

@StollmeyerEU • 2nd November 2015


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