In our commentary on the proposed European Energy Union, we questioned the apparent loss of authority to member states over national policy making, and this point has now been taken up with a firm reassertion of such authority. [Engerati’s Week In Energy – Is Europe’s Energy Union The Way To Go?]
In the conclusions of last week’s European Council meeting [European Council: European Council meeting conclusions, 19-20 March 2015] member states expressed their support for the formation of the Union, and called for the development of a more effective, flexible market design which should go together with enhanced regional cooperation, including with neighbouring countries, and help integrate renewables. However, public intervention should be compatible with the internal market and the right of member states to decide on their own energy mix should be respected, they said. This will help provide affordable energy to households and industry.
This makes complete sense as when it comes to renewables in particular, the different countries have different levels of potential for the various resources. However, it is unlikely to be the only energy policy area that member states will wish to retain authority over. Regional targets for example for energy efficiency and emissions reduction are all well and good but by their nature they don't also need to translate automatically into national targets.
For the record, other Energy Union aspects called for in the conclusions include an acceleration of infrastructure projects, including interconnections; assessment of options for voluntary demand aggregation mechanisms; full implementation of existing energy legislation and development of further legislation on energy efficiency and renewables to underpin the 2030 targets; and development of an energy and climate-related technology and innovation strategy on next generation renewables, electricity storage, carbon capture and storage, improving energy efficiency in the housing sector, etc.
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