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A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
The objectives of this Communication are part of the European Union’s (EU’s) 2020 strategy and the “Resource Efficient Europe” initiative. The aim is to make far-reaching changes to the way in which Europe produces and consumes energy, while building on what has already been achieved in the area of energy policy.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 November 2010 – Energy 2020 A Strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy [COM(2010) 639 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication sets out the European Commission’s energy strategy in the period to 2020. The strategy is structured around 5 priorities:
- limiting energy use in Europe;
- building a pan-European integrated energy market;
- empowering consumers and achieving the highest level of safety and security;
- extending Europe’s leadership in the development of energy technology and innovation;
- strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy market.
Achieving 20% energy savings by 2020
The buildings and transport sectors represent a substantial energy-saving potential. To use this potential efficiently, it is necessary to:
- accelerate the renovation rate;
- introduce energy criteria into all public procurement of works, services or products;
- develop financial programmes targeting energy savings projects;
- improve the sustainability of transport;
- reduce oil dependence.
European industry must remain competitive. To achieve savings in this area, the Commission wishes to improve energy efficiency and to redefine the Europe 2020 objective. To do so, Ecodesign requirements must be introduced for products with a high consumption of energy and resources, by means of labelling, for example.
Ensuring the free movement of energy using the internal market
The Commission must ensure the implementation of legislation on the internal energy market. To do so, it intends to establish a blueprint of the European infrastructure for 2020-2030 concerning the development of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for natural gas (ENTSO for Gas) and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for electricity (ENTSO for electricity).
The internal market must also undergo streamlining of permit procedures and market rules for infrastructure developments. To this end, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) is responsible for defining and implementing the harmonisation and standardisation requirements.
Providing secure, safe and affordable energy
It is important that consumers should participate in the internal energy market. To do so, they must benefit from best practice in the area of switching suppliers, billing, complaint-handling and alternative dispute resolution schemes.
Developing innovative energy technologies
This strategy aims to support the launch on the European market of innovative new high performance low-carbon technologies. The implementation of the SET-Plan is one solution, in that it may help to shorten the distance between research and technological development. The ITER research project should also be developed.
The Commission also intends to launch new large-scale European projects concerning:
- smart grids linking the whole electricity grid system;
- electricity storage;
- large-scale sustainable biofuel production;
- energy savings both in cities and in rural areas.
Strengthening external links
This strategy aims, on the one hand, to consolidate the internal market and, on the other hand, to encourage the participation of neighbouring countries in the internal market. To do this, existing international agreements should be aligned with the internal market rules in order to strengthen cooperation between Member States for the conclusion of new agreements.
The EU wishes to play an important role in promoting a future of low-carbon energy in the world. For example, it intends to launch a major cooperation with Africa on sustainable energy.
The EU’s priorities also include the wish to promote legally binding nuclear-safety, security and non-proliferation standards. To achieve this goal, the EU must reinforce its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and conclude Euratom agreements with key nuclear suppliers and user countries.
In 2007, the Council adopted energy goals aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, to increase the share of renewable energy to 20% and to make a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. However, these goals will be hard to achieve by 2020. It is therefore necessary to redefine the tools which will make it possible to set the EU on the path to competitive, secure and sustainable energy.