The key to the European Union’s low-carbon energy future lies with consumers, the European Commission said Wednesday in releasing a set of new clean energy proposals. “Consumers are active and central players on the energy markets of the future. Consumers across the EU will in the future have a better choice of supply, access to reliable energy price comparison tools and the possibility to produce and sell their own electricity,” the European Commission said in a press release.
The “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package encompasses proposals covering energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply, and governance rules for the Energy Union. “Our proposals provide a strong market pull for new technologies, set the right conditions for investors, empower consumers, make energy markets work better and help us meet our climate targets. I’m particularly proud of the binding 30% energy efficiency target, as it will reduce our dependency on energy imports, create jobs and cut more emissions,” European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said in the release.
Beyond the 30 percent energy efficiency target, the package also includes a proposal for the EU to by 2030 collectively consume 27 percent of its energy from renewable sources. “Together with energy efficiency, the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and other climate change mitigation policies, renewables might help the EU reduce its carbon intensity by up to one third between 2020 and 2030,” according to the proposal, which also notes that an increase in renewable generation will cut the amount the bloc spends on fossil fuel imports.
The package also addresses the need to transition from fossil fuels. According to a document release with the proposal, the commission “will work in partnership with the actors of these regions, provide guidance, in particular for the access to and use of available funds and programmes, and encourage exchange of good practices, including discussions on industrial roadmaps and re-skilling needs, through targeted platforms.’
Furthermore, the package seeks to eliminate all inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. “The remaining but still significant public support for oil, coal and other carbon-intensive fuels continues to distort the energy market, creates economic inefficiency and inhibits investment in the clean energy transition and innovation,” the document says.
The package proposes replacing the New Entrants Reserve (NER) 300 funding competition with a new innovation fund. “The future Emission Trading System Innovation Fund should support investments in low-carbon innovation in renewable energy; carbon capture, storage and use; and in energy-intensive industry. The Commission also has proposed enabling the start of the Innovation Fund before 2021,” an additional proposal document says.
The proposals will now need to be addressed by the European Council and the European Parliament.