EU energy policy: what’s in store for you in the fall?



David Donnerer

Publication date

July 30, 2018

Ever heard of JOMO ? It stands for “joy of missing out.” 
For this summer’s newsletter, we thought you’d have a much easier time chilling out during your vacation if you know now what to expect upon your return.

The month of June was hectic. Negotiations on the renewables and energy efficiency directive and on the governance of the Energy Union regulation finally came to an end. For this newsletter edition, we decided to take you through the key milestones of EU energy and climate policy that will surely be impacting the local energy transition in the coming months.

Three must-know policy issues in fall :

  • Continued discussions concerning official recognition of local energy communities in the EU legislation ;
  • Further advocacy surrounding the increased EU funding for local energy transition in the next EU budget ;
  • The EU 2050 low carbon emissions strategy ;

The power market : recognising local players in the electricity supply chain

The European Commission aims to finalise the trilogue negotiations on the new EU electricity market design prior to COP24 in Poland (December 2018). Achieving this would mean that the “Clean Energy for all Europeans” legislative package would be concluded just in time for the May 2019 EU elections.

The stakes are high for local authorities, local energy communities/co-operatives and citizens : we need strong rules to formalise their role in Europe’s energy transition. Through the “Small is beautiful” cross-sectoral campaign and the Community Energy Coalition, we at Energy Cities are working to ensure such actors are not only recognised but also enabled and protected.

EU budget post-2020 : more funds for local energy, but at what cost ?

As mentioned in previous articles, the EU budget for the period 2021-2027 will allocate more funding for the local energy transition. The LIFE programme will also be expanded, but according to initial feedback from the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), local energy priorities such as networking, capacity-building, technical assistance and the like, will probably be shifted from the Horizon programme to LIFE – which currently has a lower funding rate than Horizon. This leaves “energy transitioners” and project beneficiaries like our member cities with the unresolved question : Will LIFE retain its current funding rate or will it increase, in order to facilitate local authorities’ access to financing ? The European Commission is expected to clarify this issue in the coming months.

As for details about the new EU Urban Initiative, which will build on the previous URBACT and Urban Innovative Actions initiatives, we will have to wait until this coming December.

It’s likely that negotiations on the future of the EU budget – a priority of the current Austrian presidency of the European Council – won’t be completed before the fall of 2019. Energy Cities will be keeping tabs on these negotiations and will continue pushing for additional funding of the local energy transition.

Which ambitions for the new EU climate and energy strategy for 2050 ?

During a high-level event held this past 10-11 July, the European Commission launched its stakeholder consultation process for a new 2050 EU low-carbon strategy : an online public consultation will be running from now until mid-October. Then, in November, the European Commission will unveil the new 2050 climate and energy strategy, just ahead of COP24.

While the new strategy will not be a legally binding document, it will go a long way toward setting the energy policy course for the coming decades and will provide a unique opportunity to reach a consensus as how our society, our economy and our energy landscape will evolve going forward.

Many of our member cities have already defined ambitious strategies and roadmaps for 2050. These inspiring examples will be our input to the EU 2050 low-carbon strategy after the summer break.
But before that, we leave you with a shout of JOSS : Joy of seeing you in September !

Written by David Donnerer with Sara Giovannini and Miriam Eisermann