Energy Union – the plan to ensure that Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy – is celebrating its first anniversary! Much has already happened in the quest to make Energy Union a reality. And, 2016 is set to continue to be a year of delivery.
"One year after the launch of the Energy Union strategy, we can say in full confidence that we mean business when we talk about cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy for all Europeans.s. With the proposals adopted since the launch of the strategy, Europe is showing the way and leading the global transition to a low-carbon society," EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.
This February, the Commission launched its landmark ‘security of supply package’. The package contained a raft of measures from boosting regional cooperation to prevent gas supply crises, new rules for energy-related intergovernmental agreements, a new strategy for gas storage and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and a strategy on heating and cooling
This year will also see continued EU leadership in the transition to a low-carbon energy sector which builds on the success of the COP 21 climate summit in Paris where decarbonisation was in the limelight. The year will also see a concerted effort to make this transition socially fair and with consumers at its heart.
"I believe a society is not measured only by its legislation, successful innovation and businesses. A society is also measured by its ability to care for its weakest and most vulnerable. Therefore we must constantly look back and see if anyone was left behind," Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said.
And the pace of Energy Union activity won't let up!
In the second half of this year will come a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. In autumn the second State of the Energy Union will look at how far Energy Union has come in 2016 and how far it must travel to achieve its targets. And towards the end of this year, you should also expect more on electricity markets with a proposal on electricity market design and the revision of the security of supply for electricity regulation.
The Commission will also be examining progress made on infrastructure projects known as Projects of Common Interest, and looking at what needs to be done to reach the 15% electricity interconnection target for 2030.
Meanwhile, as part of Energy Union's governance, the Commission will propose streamlined planning and reporting arrangements that make sure that the implementation of Energy Union is transparent, predictable and set for the long-term. The renewable energy directive will also be revised, and a bioenergy sustainability policy for 2030 set up.
Internationally, expect to see more cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours, more on the Southern Gas Corridor, deepened energy dialogue with key partners including the US, Norway and Canada, as well as the launch of the Ukraine Strategic Energy Partnership. Energy will also be high on the agenda of the G7 in Japan, G20 in China and the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco, US.
"The first year of the Energy Union has already proved that this strategic framework for transition of Europe´ s energy system is living up to expectation. By the end of 2016 we will have delivered some 90% of the strategy, in an attempt to remain focused on the major issues, those which count the most. It’s a big year ahead for Energy Union!" – Vice-President Šefčovič said.