Today (20 March), the European Council delivered its conclusions on the Energy Union. There were some good opportunities to seize. And there were some reasons to worry.
In the end, although there is no ground for celebration, the conclusions given by the Member States provide some good perspective.
Indeed, the Heads of States and Governments still place a strong focus on large infrastructure and interconnectors. The conclusions do not appear to show a tremendous understanding of the remarkable potential of the local level in delivering the growth and jobs they strongly need. Still, there are some positive elements that are worth noting: the potential of energy efficiency in energy security is acknowledged by the Council. Besides, the issue of energy poverty is brought forward – although indirectly in the language of “affordable energy to households”.
However, some other aspects of the Council’s conclusions bear much bleaker prospects for the energy transition at the local level. First of all, there is an overwhelming focus on the Member State level, and an affirmation of the authority of Member States to decide on their own energy mix. There still is too much of a focus on gas, and the wording of “indigenous energy and sustainable low-carbon energy technologies” as a component of the security of supply seems to be more targeted at shale gas or clean coal than at renewable energy grounded in the territories.
Altogether, we cannot help but regret that the European Council does not see the tremendous potential of the local level in fostering sustainable development and jobs in the European Union. Energy Cities believes that national governments should look at the actions taken by their local authorities. They should engage on the path of decarbonisation alongside their cities
March 20, 2015