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Policy brief: At the crossroads?

By Claire Roumet on 4 April 2016

I have carefully read the Financial Times, every day during a month and energy issues are making the cover every two days describing how bad the traditional energy sector is doing economically; and if it is not about crazy French who want to invest in Hinckley nuclear plants or about the Brazilian Petrobas corruption scandal, it is to report on huge divestment decisions of big Funds, such as the Rockfeller Fund one.

The debate on energy is moving tough, concentrating on a purely economic one as was well reported in the New Economics Foundation’s latest blog post.

Earlier this month, I participated at a major transatlantic debate on energy policies organised by the German Marshall Fund. It struck me that, even though sustainable energy systems make common economic sense now, after years of development, the maturity of the technologies allow to think about another energy policy; we have not reached the point, where national governments can grasp this opportunity. The debate was all about how EU and US can make a deal together whereby the US will provide LNG to EU and in order not to depend on other parts of the world (e.g. Russia, Central Europe and Middle East). “We have the same values, then we can be trusting each other for commercial partnership”. Quite far from the COP21 commitments…

Not only in economic terms, a renewable and decentralised energy system is a common sense answer to geopolitical disorders. It is not the only answer, but a big piece of the puzzle as it offers the possibility to share wealth. If we are not basing our energy on what is in the ground, but on infinite and renewable resources available to all, the geopolitical landscape will change.

Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union starts its latest blog by welcoming more pipelines, and he ends it advocating for more energy autonomous islands, more renewable investment and decentralised energy system with the quote by Socrates: “the secret of change is to focus all our energy not on fighting the old but on building the new”.

So it might be an advice to editorial team of the Financial Times: do not focus on the old dying but on the new emerging.
This past month, the local authorities have raised their voice against weak EU car regulation, against new gas pipelines and nuclear power plants

Devolving energy policy decisions to the local communities is the new emerging, hopefully very soon, to become the new normal !

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