2015-02-25

Heavy Fuel: European Comission favours Energy Union

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reprint Energy is used to heat and to cool buildings and homes, transport goods, and power the economy. But with ageing infrastructure, poorly integrated markets, and uncoordinated policies, our consumers, households and businesses do not benefit from increased choice or from lower energy prices. It is time to complete the single energy market in Europe.
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Delivering on this top priority set out in President Juncker's political guidelines, today the European Commission sets out its strategy to achieve a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy.

The Energy Union means in particular:
Solidarity clause: reducing the dependence on single suppliers and fully relying on their neighbours, especially when confronted with energy supply disruptions. With more transparency when EU countries make deals to buy energy or gas from countries outside the EU;
Energy flows, as if it were a Fifth freedom: that of free flow of energy across borders - strictly enforcing the current rules in areas such as energy unbundling and the independence of regulators – taking legal action if needed. Redesigning the electricity market, to be more interconnected, more renewable, and more responsive. Seriously overhauling state interventions in the internal market, and phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies.
Energy efficiency first: fundamentally rethinking energy efficiency and treating it as an energy source in its own right so that it can compete on equal terms with generation capacity;
Transition to a low-carbon society that is built to last: ensuring that locally produced energy – including from renewables – can be absorbed easily and efficiently into the grid; promoting EU technological leadership, through developing the next generation of renewables technology and becoming a leader in electromobility, while European companies expand exports and compete globally.

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In an Energy Union, citizens are at the core. The prices they pay should be affordable and competitive. Energy should be secure and sustainable, with more competition and choice for every consumer. These and other commitments sit alongside an action plan to meet these ambitious goals in our energy and climate policy. Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission President, said "For too long, energy has been exempt from the fundamental freedoms of our Union. Current events show the stakes – as many Europeans fear they may not have the energy needed to heat their homes. This is about Europe acting together, for the long term. I want the energy that underpins our economy to be resilient, reliable, secure and growingly renewable and sustainable." Maroš Šefcovic, the Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union said: "Today, we launch the most ambitious European energy project since the Coal and Steel Community. A project that will integrate our 28 European energy markets into one Energy Union, make Europe less energy dependent and give the predictability that investors so badly need to create jobs and growth. Today, we set in motion a fundamental transition towards a low-carbon and climate-friendly economy, towards an Energy Union that puts citizens first, by offering them more affordable, secure, and sustainable energy. Together with all other Commissioners who have worked closely on the project team, and with the support of the entire Commission, I am determined to now turn this Energy Union into reality." Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy said: "Let's get down to work. Today we have set the course for a connected, integrated and secure energy market in Europe. Now, let's make it happen. Our path to real energy security and climate protection begins here at home. That's why I will focus on building our common energy market, saving more energy, expanding renewables, and diversifying our energy supply. After decades of delay, we will not miss another opportunity to build an energy union. The Juncker Commission gets the big things right."

Key figures

● The EU is the largest energy importer in the world, importing 53% of its energy, at an annual cost of around €400 billion.
● 12 EU Member States do not meet the EU's minimum interconnection target – that at least 10% of installed electricity production capacity be able to "cross borders". The EU has listed 137 electricity projects, including 35 on electricity interconnection: between them, these projects could bring that figure from 12 down to 2 Member States. 


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