We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
On 30 November 2016 the European Commission presented its plans for the next steps in the Energy Union to speed up the clean energy transition and boost growth and job creation in the EU. The package pursues three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, cementing the EU's global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for energy consumers.
The JRC has supported with scientific evidence the development of the legislative proposals on energy efficiency, electricity market and risk preparedness rules, as well as on the promotion of renewables and bioenergy sustainability policy. In the future, the JRC will continue its support for implementation and monitoring of EU energy policies and programmes.
The European Commission puts energy efficiency at the heart of its proposals to turn energy transition from a challenge into an economic and environmental opportunity. Energy that does not need to be produced and used is the cheapest and cleanest kind. The JRC supports EU energy efficiency efforts by monitoring the progress of EU Member States towards their energy consumption reduction targets and by assessing national energy efficiency action plans and annual reports, including national building renovation strategies.
The JRC also launched the European Energy Efficiency Platform to collect, validate and share data and knowledge from a rapidly growing energy efficiency market. Putting this knowledge at the fingertip of decision makers will help the implementation of legislation on energy efficiency, buildings performance and renewables.
The JRC also delivered scientific evidence in support of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive including on energy feedback systems, demand-response status, building renovation strategies, the setting up the EU Building stock observatory, methods to calculate energy savings, energy audits and management systems across the EU Member States, as well as guidelines on assessing the energy efficiency potential in the heating and cooling sector.
Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. JRC has a long-standing expertise on the evaluation of biofuels' technological developments, on assessment of their environmental sustainability and climate change impacts, estimation of the land use change due to an increased biofuels demand, calculation of the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels, land use change and different bioenergy pathways.
This expertise has supported the assessment of costs, benefits and impacts related with biofuels which have to be taken into account to ensure a well-balanced policy. This work has fed into the proposed Renewable Energy Directive (recast) which sets out clear sustainability criteria for bioenergy.
In particular, the JRC significantly contributed to the Commission impact assessment on the sustainability of bioenergy by, among others, by reviewing available literature, by steering Commission’s funded projects feeding into the impact assessment, by critically reviewing and challenging the results presented by consortia, by expanding the scientific discussion beyond the common understanding and finally by providing supply-chains GHG emissions calculations for a multitude of of solid and gaseous bioenergy pathways.
Within the current proposal for a recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, the JRC has calculated default and typical GHG emissions for biofuels, bioliquids and solid and gaseous biomass used for heating, cooling and electricity reported in Annex V of the proposed Renewable Energy Directive (recast).
Finally, the JRC also contributed to the Accelerating Clean-Energy Innovation Communication in the Energy Union package. At the SET Plan Conference 2016, devoted in part to Clean Energy Innovation, the JRC will present its findings from the Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS) and its inputs to the 2017 State of the Energy Union report.
Assessing the reliability of electricity generation, or generation adequacy, provides an insight into the ability of electricity systems to meet energy demand from all customers in the long term, and as such it is key to evaluating the security of supply.
The JRC supported the development of a coordinated European adequacy assessment approach included in the new market and electricity security legislative proposals. A recent JRC report analyses existing generation adequacy assessments produced by Member States and ENTSO-E, identifying strengths and weaknesses, highlighting best practices and proposing methodological recommendations. Furthermore, the JRC, building upon its work on electricity security, substantially supported the drafting of the Proposal for a Regulation on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector.
The second edition of the "Report on energy prices and costs in Europe" – due every two years under the Energy Union Roadmap – is also part of the package. It provides an up-to-date overview of energy prices in electricity, gas and in the oil products sectors. The JRC contributed to the work with a study on production costs from energy intensive industries in the EU and third countries.