Maroš Šefčovič, European Vice-President for Energy Union, appeared both confident and determined when he addressed a Eurelectric conference marking the publication of a key report on the State of the Energy Union.
By the end of January, Slovakian European parliamentarian Šefčovič will have visited all 28 EU states to press home the benefits of a common electricity and gas market and to learn about each countries priorities and expectations. The timely road trip will mark the start of the “year of implementation” of the Energy Union, Šefčovič told delegates.
Šefčovič welcomed the response from Eurelectric to the report saying that he “treasured the input and interventions”, as he shared the goal of transforming the European electricity system in the most efficient way.
Eurelectric Secretary General Han ten Berg said that the Energy Union should be viewed as a renewed opportunity for Member States to coordinate their national policies and pool resources. “Eurelectric supports the development of a holistic governance system for the Energy Union which provides a coherent, EU-wide approach to the achievement of the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Framework targets.”
Among the aims of the Energy Union is to bring together energy and climate policies and to pursue the decarbonisation agenda in the energy sector. The Union seeks to enhance security of supply with the EU and promote energy efficiency and in doing so, increase the EU’s economic competitiveness. Eurelectric called on policymakers to focus on reducing state imposed unrelated policy add-ons on electricity customers.
Šefčovič said that a key message that was emerging in Europe was that it is possible to decouple GDP growth from increases in greenhouse gas emissions and that Europe should leverage its prime mover advantage in this area and share this experience with other world regions.
Šefčovič emphasized the need to develop infrastructure in support of the Energy Union both in terms of greater interconnections between and within Member States and in other areas such as LNG terminals.
Earlier in the conference, Eurelectric representatives have stressed the need for fast progress in implementing measures under the Energy Union to stimulate investment in the industry. Eurelectric President and chief executive of EDP, Antonio Mexia, stressed the urgency and argued that Europe “cannot wait years for this to be debated at the political level and we need to avoid piecemeal decisions.”
Šefčovič said that 2016 would be the year of delivery with ambitious targets. “We aim for 90 per cent of what Energy Union promises to be delivered by the end of next year, including a strategy on heating and cooling.” He said that we can look forward to a democratization of energy production through prosumers, a big shift in business models. “Big challenge presents big opportunities to the sector – selling not only energy but energy services. Companies can offer many services including energy efficiency advice, renewable energy advice and installation, demand side management and ancillary services. “We will see new technologies with the potential for fast moving change leading to a third industrial revolution,” said Šefčovič.
On the issue of subsidiarity, Šefčovič said that he supports a regional approach. “We want to create trust and sharing of resources among regions. The role of member states is crucial in this process and it important to work with