On 18 November, the European Commission presented its first ever State of the Energy Union report which provides an overview of the state of play of progress made by the EU and its Member States on the road towards achieving the Energy Union. The Energy Union Framework Strategy, presented in February 2015, created a new momentum to bring about the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy. The State of the Energy Union Report identifies key action areas for 2016 and provides policy conclusions at Member State, regional and European level. This is a central element to monitor the implementation of this key priority of the Juncker Commission.

EURELECTRIC welcomed the publication of the first State of the Energy Union report and believe it should be viewed as a renewed opportunity for Member States to coordinate their national policies and pool resources, delivering secure, competitively priced and sustainable energy for citizens and businesses within an integrated EU energy market. EURELECTRIC supports the development of a holistic governance system for the Energy Union which provides a coherent, EU-wide approach to the achievement of the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Framework targets and in light of the broader Energy Union policy objectives.

EURELECTRIC stresses that a number of policy areas call for immediate action in the context of the Energy Union. These include the establishment of a technology neutral approach as a key principle of European energy policy, cost-effective and market-oriented development of renewables, the acceleration of the integration of electricity markets, and furthering of a more regional approach to security of supply. The Energy Union should also provide the necessary foundations to develop cost-effective interconnection capacity and to optimise the use of existing capacity, with a view to enabling the single electricity market, the market integration of renewables and to enhance security of supply. Policymakers should bear in mind the important objective of reducing state imposed, unrelated policy add-ons on electricity customers. It is also equally important for the European Commission and the Member States to explore ways to make support for energy-related policies less distortive and burdensome on the power bill. These aspects should be covered in more depth in the Energy Union process.

We also believes that the most effective way forward in the transition towards a low-carbon economy is through a clear, predictable carbon price signal that will allow industry to invest in an efficient and sustainable manner. This will require that full consistency and coherence between the elements and targets of the 2030 climate and energy framework is ensured, as well as the development of an adequate governance framework. The EU decarbonisation framework should recognise the role of decarbonised electricity as an essential vector for achieving carbon-neutrality and energy efficiency in all sectors of the EU economy, including in particular in heating, cooling, and transport.

Over the coming weeks and months, EURELECTRIC will analyse all the elements of the Commission’s report and will continue to contribute to the process of building the Energy Union. We will provide further feedback and report on the progress made at the next 2016 MEDELEC Annual meeting.