11 April 2013

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NEWS

BACKGROUND

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Public consultation

Calls for tenders

The Lech Energy Forum, 11 and 12 April 2013

This international forum under the patronage of EU Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger will discuss energy policy in Europe in the town of Lech, Vorarlberg Province, Austria.
The Forum, which will hold its second session this year, aims at leading the debate on the future of energy policy in Europe. A lively debate is expected following the adoption of the European Commission's Green Paper on 'A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies' on 27 March 2013.

A group of leading representatives from the world of business, from politics and civil society as well as delegates from neighbouring countries will discuss energy policy with special emphasis on four topics: What is the way forward for energy policy in Europe? How can we finance the transformation of our energy system? The EU – a regional or a global player in world energy markets? Can innovation save politics?

Expected participants include the Irish Chair of the Energy Council Pat Rabbitte, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, the Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic, ministers from Ukraine and Morocco as well as the Austrian Minister for Economy, Reinhold Mitterlehner. Representatives of major European energy companies also participate, among them the CEOs of OMV, Verbund AG, RWE, EDF Energy and Tennet. Industry is represented, among others, by board members of Siemens, Daimler, Schaeffler, BASF and Alstom.

More information: Günther Oettinger's website

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Commissioner Oettinger met Foreign Minister of Iceland Skarphédinsson

On 8 April Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger met with the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Mr Össur Skarphédinsson.  They discussed matters of mutual interest including the role Geothermal energy plays in the European Union's renewable energy strategy and the way the EU and Iceland, an EU-candidate country and member of the European Economic Area, can cooperate more closely in this field. In addition, Commissioner Oettinger re-affirmed that the Treaties shall not affect a Member State's right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply, noting that upon accession ownership of energy resources continues to rest with the Member States as is covered by article 194 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

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The EU Internal Energy Market Conference was a success

The second conference on the completion of the EU internal energy market, which was aimed at addressing the main challenges to completion of the internal energy market by 2014, attracted an impressive audience of representatives from the European Parliament, Member States, energy regulators, energy companies, consumer organisations and academics.
A video message of Minister Pat Rabbitte of Ireland was followed by an opening speech of Commissoner Oettinger.

The sessions of the conference focused on making our systems fit and flexible for a sustainable future, assessing the outlook of long term investments and contracts in energy infrastructure and identifying the consumer challenge.
Each session, moderated by Jean-Michel Glachant, Philip Lowe and Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, comprised a lively debate between representatives from all stakeholders. The main challenges highlighted in the first session on system change related to increasing renewables, investments in grids and storage and empowering consumers. The session on investments and contracts underlined the importance of a stable and fair regulatory framework conducive to investments and the third session acknowledged the challenges in unleashing the demand management potential (relating, inter alia, to smart meters) and underlined the importance of information to consumers.
The conference was closed by the concluding remarks by MEP Judith Merkies and Philip Lowe.

See the conference on Internet

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Commission moves forward on climate and energy towards 2030

Brussels, 27 March - The European Commission took the first step towards developing a 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies. It adopted a Green Paper which launches a public consultation on the content of the 2030 framework. The Commission also published a Consultative Communication on the future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe, aimed at initiating a debate on the options available to ensure its timely development. Finally, the Commission adopted a report assessing Member States' progress towards their 2020 renewable energy targets and reports on the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the EU.

Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said: "We need to define our climate and energy policy framework for 2030 as soon as possible to ensure proper investment that will give us sustainable growth, affordable competitive energy prices and greater energy security. The new framework must take into account the consequences of the economic crisis, but it must also be ambitious enough to meet the necessary long-term goal of cutting emissions 80-95% by 2050."

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: ''Europe's dependence on foreign fossil fuels is growing every year. That means more expensive and unaffordable energy bills for Europeans. This is not very wise. It's obviously not wise for the climate, but it's also not wise for our economy and our competiveness. That is why we have decided that in Europe we want a low-carbon society for 2050. We have targets for 2020, but for most investors 2020 is around the corner. It's time to define the targets for 2030. The sooner we do that, the more certainty we get to our companies and our investors. And the more ambitious these targets are, the better for the climate.''

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Background

Q&A: Green Paper on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies

What are the key objectives of this framework?

The key objectives are to reducing greenhouse gas emission, securing energy supply and supporting growth, competitiveness and jobs through a high technology, cost efficient approach.

What are the changes since the 2020 goals have been set?

Among the most important changes, there have been changes in the economy, new developments in technology leading to production of new types of energy, developments in terms of prices and developments in research.

Why is early agreement on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies important?

  • First, long investment cycles mean that infrastructure funded in the near term will still be in place in 2030 and beyond. Investors therefore need certainty about objectives and what policies will be in effect.
  • Second, clarifying the objectives for 2030 will support progress towards a competitive economy and a secure energy system by creating more demand for efficient and low carbon technologies and spurring research, development and innovation, which can create new opportunities for jobs and growth.
  • Third, an international agreement on climate change is expected by the end of 2015. In advance of this date the EU will have to agree on a series of issues, including its own ambition level for 2030, in order to engage actively with other countries.

What are the EU's climate and energy targets for 2020?

The current policy framework is based on three headline targets to be achieved within the EU by 2020:

  • a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below the 1990 level
  • a 20% share for renewable energy sources in the energy used
  • a 20% saving in primary energy consumption (compared to projections before the agreement on the climate and energy targets for 2020).

What has already been achieved in terms of these targets?

  • In 2011 EU GHG emissions were estimated at 16% below 1990 levels while GDP has grown by 48% since 1990.
  • In 2010 renewables' share of energy consumption was 12.7% compared to 8.5% in 2005.
  • Primary energy consumption peaked in 2005/2006 at around 1825 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). It has been slightly decreasing since then to reach 1730 Mtoe in 2011.

What are the key issues for this consultation?

The Green Paper consults stakeholders on a number of issues of importance for the 2030 framework, including:

  • What lessons can be learnt from experience with the existing framework?
  • What climate and energy targets could be set for 2030?
  • How can coherence between different policy instruments be ensured?
  • How can policies best be defined to contribute to EU competitiveness and security of energy supplies?
  • How can Member States' different capacities to act be taken into account?

What are the key findings for 2030 of the Energy Roadmap 2050 and 2050 Low-carbon Roadmap?

The scenarios presented by Energy Roadmap 2050 and 2050 low-carbon Roadmap suggested that

  • the EU's GHG emissions would need to be reduced by 40% below 1990 levels to be on track to reach a GHG cut of 80-95% by 2050, consistent with the necessary reductions by industrialised nations as a group to reach the internationally agreed target to limit global warming to 2°C.
  • Higher shares of renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and better and smarter energy infrastructure are ‘no regrets’ options for transforming the EU's energy system.
  • Energy prices are projected to increase in the period up to 2030 with or without significant decarbonisation of the energy system. This is in large part due to investments in the energy system that would be necessary in any case.

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