By Morten Helveg, Member of the European Parliament in the ALDE group and Vice Chair of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee
REFLECTIONS ON THE WORK ON THE EU’S CLEAN ENERGY PACKAGE
Ever since the launch of the European Commission's “Clean Energy for all Package”, the nature of the “1000+ pages beast” has been widely discussed. And naturally so, because the package goes farther than any energy legislation before and it touches upon all energy related sectors: research and innovation, building, industry, transport, skills, finance. The list goes on and on.
I speak from a Danish point of view, where green, innovative energy policy has been a priority since the beginning of 1970s. The decisions taken by brave and visionary politicians across the political spectrum back then are directly linked to today’s innovative industry, which has worked diligently towards the priorities of delivering a cost effective transition to an economy largely based on renewables, coupled with a highly energy efficient building stock. One example is the way energy intensive industries in Denmark ensure that their industrial production processes harness waste heat and turn it into cheap heating. In the Danish energy sector, synergies between different elements of the economy are always taken into consideration. In doing so, many Danish businesses are market leaders and innovators in a variety of areas - from offshore wind, to heat pumps and super-efficient district heating systems. The Danish approach, being cost-effective and inherently green at the same time, has benefited our society tremendously and I believe that the Energy Union can offer the same benefits to the whole of Europe. The Clean Energy package is the perfect driver. Beast or not, it really does not matter. The Clean Energy package is first and foremost a unique opportunity in terms of promoting renewables, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As long as it will deliver this, you can call it whatever you want.
In my view, as an MEP dedicated to energy policy, it is indeed a beast in terms of coordination and of looking at the proposals in their entirety. My colleagues and I try to keep head and tails right and navigate to find the right course in the many and divergent ideas on how to progress the proposals towards the best results for the EU. No one said it would be easy, it never is when you’re standing on the brink of entering a whole new era. That is why we have focus on getting the guiding principles right and then, after that, the actions and initiatives that will help us achieve the goals. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 EU Climate and Energy framework serve as core to the Energy Union strategy. However, in my view, the level of ambition in the Clean Energy package needs to be altered and advanced, if we want to live up our commitments. In other words, the package is a big step in the right direction, but the proposals could have gone even further. I have said it before; They should have gone much further. You have to practise what you preach, and therefore I see it as my job to make the case for a more optimistic, more radical and fundamentally more ambitious transition. This is history in the making. If we get it right, it will be the foundation for a brand new and much needed single energy market in Europe. All the arguments are there to support the transition to a better European Energy system that delivers clean energy for all European citizens. If we fail, it will lead to a halt of innovation, the loss of thousands of new jobs, a continuous EU- import of Russian gas and of oil from the Middle East. And we will continue to exacerbate climate change. The pressure is on and it should be.
Morten Helveg Phone: +32(0)2 28 45683 firstname.lastname@example.org For further information please contact:
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