EU Commission presents its "Energy Summer Package"
By on 28 July 2015
Mid-July, the European Commission presented its “Summer Package” outlining a number of priorities and measures to foster a low-carbon growth. Energy Cities provides you with key takeaways from the announcement.
What is the message?
The package is meant to show to both Member States and the international community that Europe is determined to push on climate and energy action for 2020 and beyond. It is an important step to achieve the planned Energy Union.
A positive signal
EU Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Miguel Arias Canete acknowledge that “the achievement of the Energy Union requires a fundamental transformation of Europe’s energy system."
We, at Energy Cities, think that this makes the EU Commission an ally for making this deep change. The change that should lead to strongly-decentralised energy systems fitting local needs and simultaneously contributing to sustainable development and emission reduction at global level.
The improvements proposed by the EU
- A revision of the energy label for more clarity: that should save enough energy to cover the equivalent of the energy demand of all Baltic countries for one year.
- A New Deal for Energy Consumers: better information and protection as well as stronger participation in energy markets.
- New electricity market design: the European Commission has opened a consultation on a new ‘energy market design’ to fulfil a more consumer-focused, renewable-fuelled and cross border Energy Union.
- A reform of the Emission Trading Scheme: Carbon prices estimated to average €25/t CO2 over Phase 4 (2021-2030).
What is in there for the local level?
Energy Cities very much welcomes that the package foresees “decentralised electricity generation - including for self-consumption, and supports the emergence of innovative energy service companies”. The Commission will simplify procedures allowing to consume one’s own renewable energy, thereby turning energy consumers into prosumers. It will also encourage Member States to further develop schemes that value prosumers’ excess electricity which is injected in the grid. “By generating and consuming electricity locally, system losses can be reduced”, states the document.
In its package the European Commission rightly puts the devolution of powers to local actors forward. We can see that all over Europe, new municipality-owned energy companies (Stadtwerke), energy cooperatives and citizen energy projects are emerging. They witness the request for a stronger participation of the local level in the energy system. By quickly implementing a supportive legislative framework, the Commission can be a driver of this trend. This will accelerate the energy transition which cannot do without local and regional energy generation and supply.
Regrettably, the bundle of proposed measures is not backed up by a clear allocation of competences and responsibilities on delivering the European energy and climate goals. It lacks a credible governance framework with effective procedures such as binding planning and reporting regimes on national energy policies. As stated in a recent joint paper by E3G, WWF and Client Earth, “this would reinforce investor confidence, energy security and enable citizens to take ownership of the transition.”
Moreover, divestment from fossil fuels is not part of the package. Low-carbon aims need to go hand in hand with saying goodbye to carbon-intensive fuels!
- September: EU Council of environment ministers (to set out the EU’s vision for COP21)
- November: EU Council of energy ministers
- November/December: UN Climate Change conference COP21 in Paris