The EU is in the process of updating its energy policy framework in a way that will facilitate the clean energy transition and make it fit for the 21st century. Negotiations have now been concluded on all aspects of the new energy legislative framework – the Clean Energy for All Europeans package - and all of the new rules will be formally adopted in the first few months of 2019. Finalising these changes will mark a significant step towards the creation of the Energy Union and delivering on the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments.
The new policy framework brings regulatory certainty, in particular through the introduction of the first national energy and climate plans, and will encourage essential investments to take place in this important sector.
It empowers European consumers to become fully active players in the energy transition and fixes two new targets for the EU for 2030: a binding renewable energy target of at least 32% and an energy efficiency target of at least 32.5% - with a possible upward revision in 2023. For the electricity market, it confirms the 2030 interconnection target of 15%, following on from the 10% target for 2020. These ambitious targets will stimulate Europe's industrial competitiveness, boost growth and jobs, reduce energy bills, help tackle energy poverty and improve air quality.
When these policies are fully implemented, they will lead to steeper emission reductions for the whole EU than anticipated – some 45% by 2030 relative to 1990 (compared to the existing target of a 40% reduction).
To strive towards a long-term greenhouse gas reduction objective, the framework also sets up a robust governance system for the Energy Union, and each Member State is now required to draft integrated national energy and climate plans for 2021 to 2030 outlining how they will achieve their respective targets.
The package also outlines specific measures for the building sector - the largest single energy consumer in Europe, with considerable potential for gains in energy performance.
These new targets also played an important part in the Commission’s preparations for its long-term vision for a climate neutral Europe by 2050, published on 28 November 2018.
A further part of the package seeks to establish a modern design for the EU electricity market, adapted to the new realities of the market – more flexible, more market-oriented, better placed to integrate a greater share of renewables.
These new rules also aim to put consumers at the heart of the transition – in terms of giving them more choice, strengthening their rights, and enabling everyone to participate in the transition themselves by producing their own renewable energy and feeding it into the grid. By allowing electricity to move freely to where it is most needed and when it is most needed via undistorted price signals, consumers will also benefit from cross-border competition. This will drive the investments necessary to provide security of supply, whilst decarbonising the European energy system.
The package includes 8 different legislative acts as shown below:
- Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (press release 17/04/2018, Questions & Answers)
- Renewable Energy Directive (press release 14/06/2018)
- Energy Efficiency Directive (press release 19/06/2018)
- Governance Regulation (press release 20/06/2018)
- Electricity Directive (press release 18/12/2018)
- Electricity Regulation (press release 18/12/2018)
- Risk-Preparedness Regulation (press release 22/11/2018)
- Regulation for the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (press release 12/12/2018)
- Renewable Energy
- Energy Efficiency Directive
- Energy Performance in Buildings
- Electricity Market Design (Electricity files, Risk Preparedness and ACER)
|Energy Performance in Buildings||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||17/04/2018||14/05/2018||19/06/2018 - Directive (EU) 2018/844|
|Renewable Energy||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||13/11/2018||04/12/2008||21/12/2018 - Directive (EU) 2018/2001|
|Energy Efficiency||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||13/11/2018||04/12/2018||21/12/2018 - Directive (EU) 2018/2002|
|Governance||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||13/11/2018||04/12/2018||21/12/2018 - Regulation (EU) 2018/1999|
|Electricity Regulation||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||Pending||Pending||-|
|Electricity Directive||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||Pending||Pending||-|
|Risk Preparedness||30/11/2016||Political Agreement||Pending||Pending||-|
The new rules are based on a package of proposals presented by the European Commission on 20 November 2016, which have now been politically or formally agreed by the co-legislators – the Council and the European Parliament.
Highlighting the objectives of putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies, and providing a fair deal for consumers, the detailed impact assessment of the proposals estimated that they would generate 900 000 jobs and an increase of up to 1% in GDP over the next decade.
Other parts of the package included:
- Communication on an Ecodesign working plan 2016-2019
- Communication on accelerating clean energy innovation
- Communication on a European strategy on cooperative, intelligent transport systems
- Separate reports on Energy prices and costs in Europe and the implementation of the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) and the European Energy Efficiency Fund
These initiatives built on existing EU policies and funding opportunities, such as research, development and innovation projects under the Horizon 2020 Programme, and ongoing EU-financed investment programmes, for example the Connecting Europe Facility, the European Energy Programme for Recovery and other European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF), as well as funding through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), where there are more projects related to energy than any other sector.