Calls For Closer Cross-Broder Cooperation On Energy

ETN attended a discussion on ‘How to Implement the EU Energy Roadmap 2050’ in Brussels, organised by the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and Siemens Energy on April 25, during which strong calls were made for greater European co-operation on energy matters.

Speakers at the event generally welcomed the EU’s Energy Roadmap 2050; giving support to its ambitious goals and broadly praising the roadmap for stimulating a discussion on Europe’s future energy mix. However, doubts were raised over what the roadmap alone can achieve and a call was made for a clear pathway to be outlined in the EU regulatory context. The SET Plan (European Strategic Energy Technology Plan) was described as being crucial to the successful implementation of the roadmap.

The theme of Europeanisation of the energy sector was mentioned by all speakers. Cross border grid expansion, it was claimed, is necessary for an integrated European energy system. The EU will not achieve the ambitious emissions targets it has set itself while there remain 27 different energy policies in Europe according to the CEO of Siemens Energy. Europe, he said, needs to quickly move away from ‘silo thinking’.

While some speakers were keen to promote the increased role of renewable energy resources (RES) in Europe’s future energy mix, others questioned the EU’s RES targets and claimed that only fossil fuels can effectively meet the increased energy demand of the future.

The role of gas was also mentioned and a call was made for Europe’s coal fired power stations to be replaced by more efficient gas fired CCPPs. It was pointed out that replacing coal with gas would reduce CO2 emissions drastically.

During a panel discussion, the speakers discussed how to ensure that energy discussions were not overshadowed in importance by Europe’s financial worries. All agreed on the need to link the energy crisis to the financial crisis.

The speakers also took a more global look at energy, noting that both China and India, together representing over one third of the world’s population, are heavily reliant on coal and are likely to remain so for the considerable future. The question was therefore posed as to whether or not it was wise for Europe, which as a whole emits far less emissions than the aforementioned countries, to focus so heavily on RES at the expense of efficiency.

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger claimed that the EU is a pioneer in energy, but admitted that it is currently a pioneer without anyone following its lead. He concluded by describing Europe’s 2020 targets as ‘yesterday’s news’ and stated that Europe must now look towards 2030 and beyond, building an integrated energy system based on ‘no regrets’ options.

For more information on this event please contact the ETN Office.



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