The EU and the USA are key allies. Trade between them equals 31% of the global total and they cooperate across a variety of areas. In energy, the EU and the USA share a common approach on the need to promote open, transparent, competitive, and sustainable global energy markets.
EU-USA Energy Council
Energy cooperation was enhanced in 2009 with the creation of the EU-US Energy Council. The Council meets annually and reports to the wider EU-US summit. The Council is chaired by the EU High Representative/Vice President, the EU Vice President for Energy Union, the EU Commissioner for Climate and Energy, the US Secretary of State and the US Secretary of Energy. A representative from the rotating EU Presidency also participates.
Discussions within the Council focus on:
- global and regional energy security challenges
- mitigation of climate change
- energy efficiency
- renewable energy
- carbon capture and storage
- smart grids
- nuclear safety
- unconventional energy
- offshore safety
- energy research and technologies: specifically on smart grids, energy storage, nuclear waste, and Carbon Capture & Storage
Energy and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
The EU and the US are currently negotiating the largest international free trade deal in history – the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Following the first round of negotiations in 2013, the European Commission released a number of initial EU position papers aiming to identify common ground with the US. One of these papers was on trade in 'raw materials and energy'. It proposed:
- increasing transparency and predictability, including in licensing
- eliminating export restrictions and preventing the imposing of local content requirements in energy projects (e.g. a requirement that a certain percentage of a project is produced locally)
- ensuring non-discriminatory access for the exploitation of natural resources and transportation infrastructure
- limiting government intervention in the price setting of energy and prohibiting dual pricing
- liberalising the trade in green goods and services in an open international market in order to promote renewable energy use
- identifying potential security of supply problems and infrastructure bottlenecks, and creating mechanisms to handle supply crises and disruptions
Energy Star programme
Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient products such as computers, refrigerators, televisions, and lighting. Products which carry the Energy Star logo use significantly less energy than minimum legal standards allow.
The EU first signed up for the programme in 2001 and renewed its commitment in 2006 and 2011. Under the agreement, EU manufacturers can voluntarily apply Energy Star specifications to measure the energy performance of office equipment. Products that meet the specifications display the Energy Star logo, allowing consumers to easily identify them.