The « Energy Union » should be grounded in today’s reality


An “Energy Union” is the European Commission’s next big project. Whom and what will it unify? And what type of energy is it focusing on? Better interconnections throughout the EU and simplification of energy trade amongst countries are meant to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas. This will increase security of supply and competitiveness. No mention of decentralised energy, though. Energy Cities’ most recent position paper calls for the assessment of local needs and opportunities in this endeavour.

Energy Cities believes the debate about renewing the Energy policy governance for 2030 should take into account the role of sub-national levels.

The ongoing transformation of the European energy sector has been overwhelmingly carried by cities and local authorities. These local actors have a leading role in terms of energy efficiency actions and the scaling up of renewable energy. They embrace this transition with new organisational models that allow for a low carbon, decentralised energy system, and play an increasingly important role in the energy sector. In this 
context, the ambitious initiative of the Energy Union offers an opportunity to build an integrated institutional and political framework that allows for the energy transition to happen swiftly, cost-efficiently, across the European Union.

After the Big Five policy recommendations to the new EU policy-makers, Energy Cities has now issued its position paper on the planned Energy Union. We suggest Mr. Šefčovič, the EU Vice-President in charge of that topic, and Commissioner for Energy Mr. Cañete to bring decentralised energy at the center of the debate:

Energy Cities’ position on the European Energy Union – December 2014
The European Union needs to change its mind set from “big scale infrastructure to aggregating the small” local capacity. Although the 5 actual pillars of the Energy Union are quite relevant, they have to provide enough space to subsidiarity so that cities, the drivers of change in the energy sector, can assume their leadership in action.
The « Energy Union » should be grounded in today’s reality. It should reflect the
ongoing transition towards ever more distributed and decentralised energy systems, benefitting local communities and economies.

Download: PDF – 161.5 kb

One opportunity to discuss this topic is the High-level Roundtable discussion “The strategic role of Smart Cities for tackling energy challenges” organised by the Directorate General Energy of the European Commission on 25th February in Brussels.