European policy makers and leaders must “tear down” member-state barriers if the European Union is ever to transition into creating the longed-for “Energy Union” — “a fully functioning internal energy market delivering power and heating at favourable prices to citizens and private businesses across the continent.”
These are the conclusions from a new position paper published by the European Wind Energy Association on Monday, as world leaders met in Lima, Peru, for the latest UN climate talks.
The paper comes less than a fortnight after the International Energy Agency concluded that there is “much room for improvement” towards a European Energy Union.
“The European Union has made progress in liberalising energy markets, and its global leadership on climate change is to be commended,” the IEA wrote in its press release announcing the report, Energy Policies of IEA Countries: European Union – 2014.
“As member states adopt different energy policy choices and decarbonisation pathways towards 2030, a strong ‘Energy Union’ is needed to achieve the EU 2030 goals,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “But let’s be clear: such a union should not represent a buyer’s cartel. Rather, it should feature an integrated energy market and effective climate and energy policies.
Speaking for the European Wind Energy Association on the release of their position paper, chief executive officer Thomas Becker had the following to say:
“Electricity is the last commodity in Europe that is not freely traded. We can buy oranges from Spain, reindeer from Sweden but electricity is not for sale and that is damaging Europe’s push toward energy security and interconnectivity.”
The position paper calls for five priorities to be set and addressed moving forward: guaranteeing stable frameworks; supplying energy security; completing the internal energy market; manufacturing growth; and combating climate change.
“For the Energy Union to be meaningful and bring benefits to all EU Member States, it will be necessary to look at the energy system as a whole and tackle physical and regulatory bottlenecks from a pan-European perspective,” the author’s write. “Under mandate and guidance from the European Commission, Member States and national bodies will need to pool resources, invest, cooperate and collaborate.”
“Europe needs an Energy Internet that goes far beyond the mere construction of electricity pylons and interconnectors,” Becker added. “Like the free flow of information, electricity generated in the Scottish Highlands must be granted free passage across national borders to power homes and businesses along the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria and Romania.”
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