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Securing your energy future: Commission presents energy security, solidarity and efficiency proposals

Commission Européenne - IP/08/1696   13/11/2008

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IP/08/1696

Brussels, 13 November 2008

Securing your energy future: Commission presents energy security, solidarity and efficiency proposals

The European Commission has proposed today a wide-ranging energy package which gives a new boost to energy security in Europe, supporting the 20-20-20 climate change proposals which should be agreed by December. The Commission puts forward a new strategy to build up energy solidarity among Member States and a new policy on energy networks to stimulate investment in more efficient, low-carbon energy networks. The Commission proposes a new EU Energy Security and Solidarity Action Plan which sets out five areas where more action is needed to secure sustainable energy supplies. The Commission also looks at the challenges that Europe will face between 2020 and 2050. In addition, a package of energy efficiency proposals aims to make energy savings in key areas, such as reinforcing energy efficiency legislation on buildings and energy-using products, and enhancing the role of energy performance certificates as well as inspection reports for heating and air-conditioning systems.

Presenting the Commission's second Strategic Energy Review package, President José Manuel Barroso said, "Energy prices have risen by an average of 15% in the European Union in the last year. 54% of Europe's energy is imported at a cost of €700 for every EU citizen. We have to address this urgently, by taking measures to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our dependence on imports. We have to invest and diversify. The proposals adopted today represent an unequivocal statement of the Commission's desire to guarantee secure and sustainable energy supplies, and should help us deliver on the crucial 20-20-20 climate change targets".

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs highlighted the opportunities for new investment, cost savings and jobs: "The EU has come together as never before to deal with climate change, high energy prices and energy security. But we have to do more, be more ambitious, and be even bolder to avoid the risk of energy disruption in the future. This means investment. Investing in energy, including energy efficiency, means giving our economy the push it needs at this uncertain time."

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said: "A greater focus on energy in the EU's international relations is crucial to the energy security of the EU. The development of strong and reliable energy partnerships with suppliers, transit countries and other major energy consumers is key, and therefore the new generation energy interdependence provisions proposed today is an important step forward.  Today's review also proposes steps to strengthen the EU's capacity to mobilise in support of essential infrastructure to bring supplies from third countries."

The first priority identified in the second Strategic Review is to adopt and rapidly implement the measures to reach European Council energy policy targets for Europe aiming at a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% share for renewables in final energy consumption and a 20% saving in future energy demand by 2020. This climate change package, proposed by the Commission in January 2008, needs to be agreed by the Council and Parliament in the coming weeks. Cleaner, more diverse and more efficient energy will be good for Europe's energy supply and economy. The new rules will also create a more stable, consistent and transparent environment for new energy investments.

The second priority is to address the growing precariousness of Europe's energy supply security. Even when the renewable energy policy goals are reached, Europe is likely to be dependent on more imports than today. The EU needs to improve the current policies to achieve its energy efficiency objective. Moreover, the ability of the EU to respond together in a crisis needs to be strengthened.

In the new EU Energy Security and Solidarity Action Plan, the Commission sets out five areas where more action is needed to help set the EU on course for more secure and sustainable energy supplies in the future and to avert the risk of crisis in the EU as a whole. More effective support is needed to projects to build the required infrastructure. The EU has to make better use of its indigenous energy resources, both renewable and fossil. More attention has to be paid to solidarity, including EU crisis mechanisms, oil stocks and a variety of mechanisms to respond to possible gas disruption. Additional and more urgent efforts have to be made to improve energy efficiency.

Greater focus on energy in the EU's international relations, including through establishment of relationships with supplier, transit and consumer countries based on interdependence will contribute to the achievement of the EU energy policy goals and also increase the EU's influence on international energy developments. Closer coordination among Member States and with the Commission in external energy relations will be particularly important in this regard.

At the same time, the Commission presents a number of supporting documents which develop these lines of action. At the forefront is energy efficiency. A package of energy efficiency proposals aims to make energy savings in a number of areas, such as reinforcing the key energy efficiency legislation on buildings and energy-using products, and enhancing the role of energy performance certificates as well as inspection reports for heating and air-conditioning systems. To improve efficiency in energy supply, the Commission has adopted guidelines to enable the uptake of electricity generation from highly efficient cogeneration installations. In 2009, the Commission plans a thorough evaluation of the 2006 European Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.

The issue of investment is also central to the package. Europe's networks need billions of euros of investment to replace aging infrastructure and adapt to low-carbon and renewable energy. A Green Paper on energy networks identifies six strategic initiatives as essential for the EU's energy security: a Baltic Interconnection Plan, a Mediterranean Energy Ring, adequate North-South gas and electricity interconnections with Central and South-East Europe, a North Sea Offshore Grid, a Southern Gas Corridor and effective liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies for Europe.

Background

The first Strategic Review led to the European Council agreement in March 2007 on energy policy targets for Europe. Since then, the Commission has proposed a number of measures to deliver these goals, including a package of proposals to open up the EU energy market further, now close to adoption, a Strategic Energy Technology Plan to promote clean energy technology, new measures to improve the energy consumption of consumer goods and proposals for new compulsory targets on renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

The March 2007 European Council invited the Commission to bring forward an updated Strategic energy Review in early 2009. The proposals adopted today respond to that request.

The Strategic Energy Review and accompanying documents are available on Europa website.


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