Cross-border energy markets ‘vital’ for EU renewables target

The European wide 2030 renewables target will not be delivered unless cross-border market mechanisms and continuous monitoring are introduced, a new report from the House of Lords EU Committee has found.

The EU energy governance report, states that the European Union is in danger of missing the binding targets to reduce emissions by 40% and ensure that at least a quarter of energy production is from renewable sources by 2030, if greater cooperation and cross-border transactions aren’t heavily implemented.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market, Chairman of the Committee, said: “The question for the EU is how to meet the twin challenges of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels while also ensuring abundant and affordable energy supply. We think the European Commission’s flagship Energy Union Strategy is broadly on the right lines but now is the time to ensure it is delivered by across Europe and by Member States domestically.

“That is why we are calling for the EU-wide binding 2030 renewables targets to be backed up by a monitoring and enforcement mechanism that acts as a guarantor for the agreement, and ensures that Member States share the effort equitably. If we are to focus national government minds on meeting their responsibilities they have to know how far they have got to go domestically and have a clear idea on how they will get there.

“To that end we recommend that our own government should be clearer and more open about progress in meeting its own targets and also provide consistency in energy and renewable policy to provide investors with the confidence to provide the funding needed to meet our targets.”

The report highlights that in order to incorporate the new energy mix, Europe’s infrastructure system would require an overhaul to the tune of €200bn in the next decade in order to upgrade transmission grids and gas pipelines.

Yet with different nations prioritising different areas of the energy agenda the report calls for common standards to be introduced across the EU. Opening up national energy markets to cross-border transactions would encourage greater ollaboration across the member states.

Regional networks are one suggestion the report cites, claiming that excess renewable energy produced in one country could be transferred to another where renewables are struggling with production demands.

UK issues

One of the main issues that the report flags is that member states have ‘radically different’ ideas of what an EU energy governance framework should entail. The UK Government has called for a degree of flexibility in the policy to allow member states to meet differing national demands while retaining a responsibility for what that country’s energy mix consists of.

The report has called on the UK government to improve on the progress and transparency of its climate goals. The report has also urged the UK to develop a clearer understanding about its long-term renewable energy strategy – a policy topic that is under increased scrutiny in the wake of last week’s cuts.

Wider scope

Climate Commissioner Miguel Cañete recently stated that the European Union is on track to beat its target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 but any move to increase it from 20% to 30% will only be considered if matched by developed countries at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

In order to push towards the targets the European Commission announced modifications to credit access that opens up a €24bn financial funding tool for businesses looking to transition to a circular economy model.

EU Energy Governance

Matt Mace

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