Speech by Commissioner Simson at the virtual Launch event of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in-depth review of EU energy policies
Speech given yesterday by Commissioner Simson at the virtual Launch event of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in-depth review of EU energy policies.
"Check against delivery"
It is a great pleasure to open this event and to discuss how we can make EU's energy policy as effective and successful as possible.
I would like to start by thanking Dr. Fatih Birol and the authors of the IEA In-depth Review, the basis for today's debate. It has been a global effort by experts from Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Norway and Switzerland, ably supported by the IEA secretariat. Our Directorate General for Energy has greatly appreciated the dialogue with all of you.
This review comes at a crucial moment, for several reasons.
Firstly, it comes in the middle of a fundamental debate across the European Union about how we recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
Secondly, it comes during a major disruption to our energy systems which, in a matter of months, has produced changes that many people thought would take decades.
And thirdly, it comes as we continue our work to deliver the European Green Deal. It is strange to think that the Green Deal seems so obvious today, because it was really revolutionary when we presented it just six months ago.
I must say that reading the report has been both useful and reassuring. We of course live and breathe EU energy policy and we think long and hard before adopting new initiatives. But this In-depth Review independently confirms that we have made the right policy choices and that over the past years, we have made substantial progress in the right direction. At the same time, it highlights areas where we can do better and suggests new ideas.
For instance, the report recommends that we should foster the integration of policies across end-use sectors, by reducing regulatory and pricing barriers and enabling digitalisation and electrification. So, next month we will be presenting our first flagship initiative, on Energy System Integration - very much in line with what the In-depth Review suggests.
Our goal is to create a more circular, decentralised and digitalised system – which is much more flexible and efficient, and has much less waste.
On the very same day, we will also present our Strategic Roadmap on Hydrogen - which will be an important contributor to a cost effective transition to net zero.
The roadmap will set out how we can use the potential of hydrogen in sectors where decarbonisation is a challenge and its role in storing energy and balancing our power system.
It will set clean hydrogen targets in the short, medium and long term.
And it will help us to develop the full ecosystem needed for a competitive hydrogen industry - from production to market rules, and from infrastructure and transport to a greater use in a number of industrial sectors, to help the creation of a true hydrogen market in Europe.
The report also recognises the importance of implementing the 2030 framework based on the National Energy and Climate Plans and ask us to review policies to scale up energy action towards climate neutrality. The IEA indicates that we will beat our emission reduction targets for 2020. This is good news, but we want to do more, and faster. Indeed, before the end of the year, we will also present:
Our 2030 Climate Target Plan increasing our emission reduction ambitions;
A Renovation Wave for energy efficient buildings;
An Offshore Energy Strategy;
And the Revision of our trans-European energy networks Regulation.
Of course, our work has taken on a new dimension after the COVID outbreak and the Recovery Package presented by the Commission in May. The IEA has been very vocal in its support to a green, sustainable recovery – and this is exactly what the Commission is committed to achieve.
The Commission's Recovery Plan includes a new instrument called Next Generation EU, which would direct 750 billion euros to Member States in the form of grants and loans. This comes in addition to our reinforced 7-year budget, known as the MFF, which would be worth 1.1 trillion euros.
This package has the green transition at its heart. We strongly believe that investing in future-looking technologies and innovation is crucial for our recovery and resilience. What the Commission has put on the table provides ample opportunity for doing that in the energy sector.
The analysis by IEA will be of great benefit as we plan for this green recovery. It shows that we have chosen the right target areas: promoting energy efficiency of buildings, investing in the clean technology industries of the future, supporting renewable energy and infrastructure for energy system integration. The report will help us to make the case with our Member States that every euro that we spend on green recovery is a euro well spent, with multiple benefits at national level
The energy sector has the potential to create the investment, jobs, economic growth, and energy and technology exports that will help Europe to get back on its feet.
This review is a strong encouragement for us to move forward and even accelerate our policies for a clean energy transition. We welcome your work, Dr Birol, and we are glad to count on the partnership and wise advice from the IEA to advance our Green Deal agenda for a climate neutral, more resilient and prosperous Europe.
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Ana CRESPO PARRONDO
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