The Energy Union should be grounded in today’s reality
By on 29 January 2015
An Energy Union is the European Commission’s next big project. Whom and what will it unify? And what type of energy is it focusing on? Better interconnections throughout the EU and simplification of energy trade amongst countries are meant to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas. This will increase security of supply and competitiveness. No mention of decentralised energy, though. Energy Cities’ most recent position paper calls for the assessment of local needs and opportunities in this endeavour.
Energy Cities believes the debate about renewing the energy policy governance for 2030 should take into account the role of sub-national levels.
The ongoing transformation of the European energy sector has been overwhelmingly carried by cities and local authorities. These local actors have a leading role in terms of energy efficiency actions and the scaling up of renewable energy. They embrace this transition with new organisational models that allow for a low carbon, decentralised energy system, and play an increasingly important role in the energy sector. In this context, the ambitious initiative of the Energy Union offers an opportunity to build an integrated institutional and political framework that allows for the energy transition to happen swiftly, cost-efficiently, across the European Union.
After the Big Five policy recommendations to the new EU policy-makers, Energy Cities has now issued its position paper on the planned Energy Union. We suggest Mr Šefčovič, the EU Vice-President in charge of that topic, and Commissioner for Energy Mr Cañete, to bring decentralised energy at the center of the debate.
Debates regarding the Energy Union are ongoing in the European Parliament. Notably, this issue was on the agenda of the meeting of the Industry, Research and Energy committee of the 26th of January 2015, during which Vice-President of the Commission for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, presented the project to the members of the European parliament.
One opportunity to discuss this topic is the High-level Roundtable discussion on "The strategic role of Smart Cities for tackling energy challenges" organised by the Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission on 25 February in Brussels. Besides, the topic of the Energy Union will be discussed during the next meeting of Energy Cities’ Board of Directors, to be held on 6 March.