Passed in October, 2014, the Energy Union Strategy is an integrated climate and energy policy framework, setting out a coordinated approach to the 2030 targets for EU member states. It covers energy security, a fully integrated European energy market, energy efficiency and lowering of demand, decarbonisation of the economy, and research and innovation to maintain competitiveness.
The current energy policy for the EU is based on the 2006 Green Paper on "A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy Supply" (European Commission), which opened a wide debate on an independent energy policy of the European Union. The energy strategy, published in January 2007, presents key objectives and measures on climate protection and renewable energies. Amongst other things, it aims to raise the percentage of renewable energy to 20% by 2020.
Pursuant to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, energy policy acts are usually based either on Article 95 of the EC Treaty (internal market) or Article 175 of the EC Treaty (environmental policy).
January 2007 Strategic Energy Review I. The strategy is to be reviewed approximately every two years.
These are also known as the three pillars: energy security, sustainability and competitiveness.
The Commission's energy strategy for 2010 was set with long-term targets for 2050, with an Energy Action Plan for 2011-2020. This draft covers the topics of the energy market, energy efficiency, consumer protection, research and development, and the external energy relations of the EU. The CO2 emissions should be reduced by 80-95% compared to the level in 1990.
The Energy Union is designed to reduce Europe's dependence on fossil raw material imports, to increase energy efficiency, and to make Europe the world's leading force in the expansion of renewable energies.
There are five areas in the energy strategy adopted by the European Council in March 2007 to help meet the three long-term energy policy objectives: the natural gas and electricity market, energy security, energy efficiency and renewables, energy technologies, and external energy policy.
Passed in October, 2014, this is an integrated climate and energy policy framework, setting out a coordinated approach to the 2030 targets for EU member states. It covers energy security, a fully integrated European energy market, energy efficiency and lowering of demand, decarbonisation of the economy, and research and innovation to maintain competitiveness.
Keyword: EU Third Energy Package
In 2009, the EU adopted a set of legislative documents, known as the Third Energy Package, to open, regulate and steer the gas and electricity markets within and between member states.
The aims of the package include energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental improvements, including reducing air pollution and meeting the EU's obligations to combat climate change through decarbonisation of the energy market. The package aims to accelerate investment in energy infrastructure and the diversification of energy sources.
In order to reduce the market concentration to a small number of large companies in each member state, the EU proposes to establish an alternative system based on ownership unbundling, independent system operators (ISO) and independent transmission operators (ITO).
Ownership unbundling refers to removing a barrier to the development of a sustainable energy system in the conflict of interests inherent within generation companies which are also owners of transmissions networks. The third energy package proposes to open the market by separating generation from transmission, through amongst other measures the establishment of National Regulatory Authorities (NRA), coordinated by the centralised Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
Keyword: Europe 2020 Strategy
The European Union is a world leader in environmental and energy policies, and has a 2050 climate target, with two intermediate targets for 2020 and 2030.
in all member states, greenhouse gases will be reduced by at least 20% compared to 1990, at least 20% of all energy will be from renewable sources, and there will be an improvement in energy efficiency of 20% compared to 2008.
greenhouse gases will be reduced by at least 40% compared to 1990, at least 27% of all energy will be from renewable sources, and there will be an improvement in energy efficiency of 27% (30% according to the 30.11.16 Energy Efficiency Update) compared to 2008. There is also a clause specifying that 15% electricity transboundary interconnection would be allowed an desirable.
greenhouse gases will be reduced by at least 80-95% compared to 1990, as laid out in the Energy Roadmap 2050.
By 2015, GHGs had already been reduced by 22% in the EU. Renewables (wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro power, tidal power, geothermal energy, biofuels and the renewable part of waste) had reached 16.7% share of energy by 2015. At current rates of improvement, energy efficiency will be 18-19% by 2020.
The sources of GHGs in the EU-28 (2015) are: fuel combustion (excl. transport) 55%, transport (road and aviation) 23%, industry 8%, agriculture 10%, waste management 3%.
Keyword: WindEurope 2030 recommendations for the EU
In its report, Wind energy in Europe: Scenarios for 2030, WindEurope has prepared a set of scenarios, reflecting low, medium, and high government commitment to renewable energies over the period till 2030. They make seven recommendations for EU policy.
- Renewable energy target
The EU should raise its 2030 renewable energy target to at least 35% of final energy demand by 2030 with a clear breakdown per Member State.
- National Energy and Climate Action Plans
Member States should adopt early National Energy and Climate Action Plans based on a binding template providing clarity to investors on the post-2020 market volumes including repowering.
- RE support schedule
The post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive should mandate Member States to set a schedule for renewable energy support providing investors at least three years of visibility.
- RE support mechanisms
The post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive should set clear design rules for renewable energy support mechanisms, including technology specific tenders, to manage the energy transition.
- Priority dispatch
Market design rules should maintain priority dispatch for existing wind power plants and ensure new wind plants are dispatched down last and properly compensated in that occurrence.
- Emissions Performance Standard
Member States should stop capacity payments to polluting power plants through the adoption of an Emissions Performance Standard of 550 g CO2/kWh.
- Guarantees of Origin
EU rules on Guarantees of Origin should facilitate corporate renewable PPAs and drive renewables based electrification.
Decarbonisation Plan of the EU
Decarbonisation in the sense of climate mitigation is the process of eliminating as much as possible the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation, vehicle transport, and any other application which may lead to the release of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane or other carbon-based compound into the atmosphere, especially when that gas is a known greenhouse gas.
The EU is the world's driving force in responsible energy transition policies. It has agreed unanimously, through a series of directives, to attempt to eliminate fossil fuels from all energy applications by at least 80% by 2050. A Europe that is 100% free of carbon could also be possibility under some scenarios. However, the 80% target is considered to be sufficiently high enough to ensure a radical series of changes are brought about.
Not only will eliminating fossil fuels create better and safer living conditions for humans, and a healthier natural environment, it will also lead to a more successful and more sustainable economy, and hedge against the liabilities the scenario of business as usual leave open. The security of energy supply, given the international
trends to less and less reliable neighbours, is an ever increasing threat to the stability and prosperity of Europe.
No region on Earth has shown more global leadership and commitment in the cause of combating climate change than the EU. In October 2009, the European Council of heads of state and government launched a policy designed around the parameter of limiting anthropogenic warming to 2°C. The objective is to reduce GHG emissions in the EU by 80-95% over 1990 by 2050. This amounts to approximately 1% less fossil fuel combustion per year for four decades.
In 2009, the EU adopted the 20-20-20 commitment. This agreement has two binding elements: 20% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990, and 20% of final energy consumption would be from renewable sources. A non-binding target of 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 over projections with business-as-usual practices.
Other and subsequent directives include: the Energy Efficiency directive (2012/27/EU), a revised Emissions Trading Directive (2009/29/EC), a new Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), a legal framework for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) (2009/31/EC), the new Effort Sharing Decision (which covers reductions not covered by the ETS - Emissions Trading System) (No. 406/2009/EC).
Other agreements affecting the EU include the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (adopted in 2012), under which the EU is committed internationally to reducing GHG emissions by 20% over 1990 during the 2nd commitment period to the protocol (2013-2020). Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated GHGs. Regulation (EU) No 333/2014 on CO2 emissions of passenger cars.
The second stage in the decarbonisation programme of the EU is to ensure that carbon energy sources are not locked in during the 2020s. Power stations built now will still be operating in 2050, so the key to achieving close to zero carbon emissions by mid-century is to prevent carbon power stations being built to replace old stations as they go out of service.
The 2030 targets agreed by the EU in January 2014, are for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases, at least 27% of all electricity generation will be from renewable sources, and efficiency improvement of 30% over 2008. Given that Germany has already met the renewables target, there is a lobby pushing for more ambitious targets than these, fearing that too much leeway was made for the retention of fossil fuels.
EU GHG reductions to 2012
The EU-15 countries, which were involved as the EU in the 1992 UNFCCC treaty, and subsequent 1996 Kyoto Protocol, were set a target of an 8% reduction in GHGs by the end of the Kyoto 1st term, 2008-2012. By 2012, the EU-15 had collectively exceeded this target and reduced GHG emissions by 15%.
Not to be outdone, the 28 nations of the current EU have achieved a 19% reduction in GHGs. Mind you, it is easier to reduce by percentage when you start from a higher level, which the eastern European countries did.
As of January 2014, the EC (European Council) has adopted a new policy framework for climate and energy policy to 2030, generally considered an interim stage to the almost complete decarbonisation ambition by 2050. This policy has the target of 40% GHG reductions and 27% renewables (of final energy consumption), as binding targets. And a non-binding 27% compromise target for energy efficiency helps to ensure the percentage targets are meaningful as an impact on climate change.
The general impression of the author is that most experts consider the 2030 targets to be Realpolitik compromises, and will not be sufficient to achieve the decarbonisation goal.
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