Energy Union: 2017 to be the year of implementation

EUROPE: In the second 'State of the Energy Union' report, the European Commission believes the region is on-course to reach its 2020 targets.

Maros Sefcovic address the WindEurope conference in Paris in 2015
Maros Sefcovic address the WindEurope conference in Paris in 2015

EC vice-president for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic lauded 2016 as the year of delivery, with the formulation of some legislative initiatives including a "clean energy for all" pledge in November's so-called 'Winter Package'.

"The EU as a whole has continued to make good progress on delivering the Energy Union objectives, in particular on the 2020 energy and climate targets. It has already achieved its 2020 final energy consumption target. The same is true for greenhouse gas emissions," the EC said.

As part of the Energy Union initiative, the European Union agreed the target of at least 27% at EU level for renewable energy by 2030.

"The Energy Union is about more than energy and climate alone; it is about accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low-carbon, energy and resource efficient, in a socially fair manner. Now that a large part of the relevant legislative proposals are on the table, 2017 should be the year of implementation," said Sefcovic.

The EC's energy union aims to develop an integrated energy market from the 28 separate regulatory frameworks of member states.

It includes measures to reduce reliance on imported energy, emissions and costs. The emissions trading system is also in the process of being overhauled.

A minimum interconnection target has been set at 10% of installed electricity production capacity per member state, which should be achieved by 2020, with a view to increasing this to 15% by 2030.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said there was an opportunity for wind to support the EC's plans. "The Council and the European Parliament need to start working seriously on the Commission's proposals," he said. "The Member States also need to start defining in their National Energy and Climate Plans how they will deliver the transition at national level.

"The Commission has rightly highlighted the importance of regional co-operation in the SOTEU report. It's key to the functioning of the single electricity market. It's key also for large investments such as in offshore wind. The 10 countries that signed the North Seas initiative last year was a great start. But we need more regional cooperation all round," Dickson added.

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