25 February, Brussels – The European Commission has published its Communication on Energy Union, one of the key priorities of the Juncker Commission. With ageing energy infrastructure, poorly integrated markets, and unco-ordinated national policies, the European Union will need substantial investment and joint action, to improve its energy performance. The Energy Union Communication sets out actions to build a single energy market for European consumers, reduce dependence on third countries, and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use.
The European Union has committed itself to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% (from 1990 levels), boost renewable energy by to at least 27% of final energy consumption, and improve energy efficiency by at least 27%, by 2030. Significant progress is needed if these goals are to be met, and if European energy security is to be boosted. Currently, the European Union imports 53% of its energy at an annual cost of €400 billion, and six Member States are entirely reliant on a single external supplier for all of their gas supplies.
The Energy Union would aim to ensure that energy flows between states are a ‘fifth freedom’ of movement, which the Commission calculates could save consumers up to €40billion per year. At present, wholesale electricity prices in Europe are 30% higher than in the United States, in part due to the fragmented nature of the EU energy market. The Energy Union proposes that this market be more interconnected, renewable and responsive, with limitations on state interventions and the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies for carbon-based fuels.
The Energy Union Package consists of a Framework Strategy for an Energy Union, an Interconnection Communication, setting out the steps that need to be taken to secure 10% electricity interconnection by 2020, and a Communication on a Global Climate Agreement.
Click to see the Commission’s priority page on Energy Union.