In May 2014 the Commission set out in its Energy Security Strategy how the EU remains vulnerable to external energy shocks. It called on policy makers at national and EU level to make clear to citizens the choices involved in reducing our dependency on particular fuels, energy suppliers and routes. In December 2014 the European Council Conclusions called on the Commission to present a comprehensive Energy Union proposal well ahead of the March 2015 European Council.
The Commission’s Communication on the Energy Union was published in February 2015 fulfils that requirement and builds on its May 2014 Energy Security Strategy. The Commission aims to create a resilient Energy Union with a forward looking climate change policy, in which the EU’s industrial, energy and digital policy agendas are joined together.
The Energy Union concept is based on the five dimensions. These are:
- Energy security, solidarity and trust;
- A fully integrated European energy market;
- Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand;
- Decarbonising the economy;
- Research, Innovation and Competitiveness
Key issues raised in the Communication include:
- Diversification of routes, sources and suppliers, which includes construction of necessary infrastructure, e.g. the Southern Gas
- Corridor and a Mediterranean gas Hub. This will be supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investment.
- Development of LNG facilities, reduced import dependence on imported oil, and development of indigenous resources are necessary;
- Stronger European role in global energy markets through Commission support in negotiating IGAs, and developing strategic partnerships with producing countries;
- A fully integrated Internal Energy Market including the software (network codes) and the hardware (infrastructure).
- A minimum interconnections target of 10% to 2020 and 15% to 2030;
- Enhanced roles for ENTSOs and ACER;
- A redesign of the electricity market;
- Greater transparency in the composition of energy costs and prices;
- Enhanced regional cooperation;
- Development and rollout of smart meters and other smart technologies;
- Protecting vulnerable consumers;
- Moderation of energy demand – mainly through energy efficiency, and particularly in buildings, transport and heat;
- An ambitious EU Climate policy to decarbonise the economy;
- Developing all renewable technologies so that the EU is the world leader in renewable energy;
- Ongoing investment in Research and Innovation.
In July 2015, the European Commission published its Summer Package. It is an important step toward implementing the Energy Union strategy and highlights the importance of energy efficiency and of putting householders and business consumers at the heart of the European Energy Market. The Package comprises a communication on a new energy market design, a communication on a new deal for energy consumers, a proposal for the review of the Energy Labelling Directive and a proposal for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) in the period 2021- 2030. This package aims to advance thinking on how to address important issues in the existing EU legislative landscape, preparing the way for a legislative cycle in 2016.
Link to EU Commission on Energy Union
Link to commission press release on Summer Package