EC Green Paper outlines common energy strategy, despite lack of vision
Commission denies renewable sector representation in High Level Group. Europe needs a new, common energy strategy, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said today in a comment to the European Commission’s Green paper ‘A European Strategy for Sustainable, competitive and Secure Energy’. It is still unclear, however, whether the Commission will act aggressively to deal with the looming energy crisis and the threat of global warming by changing to a truly indigenous, clean energy supply.
The important role that renewables can play in Europe’s energy future is stressed by the Green Paper. It is therefore unclear to EWEA why the Commission has flat out denied any representation from the renewables sector in the Commission’s ‘High Level Group on Competitiveness, Energy and Environment’, announced on 24th February.
“We are astonished that the renewable industries have no representation in the High Level Group. All appeals from us and the European Parliament to include representatives from renewables in the High Level Group have been rejected by the Commission,” says EWEA President Arthouros Zervos, who is also President of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).
EWEA acknowledges that the purpose of the Green Paper is to initiate a long-needed public debate on two of the most serious challenges Europe is currently facing: energy supply and climate change. However EWEA would have liked to see more visionary content.
“Two or three decades from now we will be importing 70% of our energy from a handful of countries at unpredictable prices and at phenomenal environmental cost unless we take a dramatic U-turn”, said EWEA CEO Christian Kjaer. “The Green Paper contains the right elements but falls short of presenting a true vision that addresses the root of the challenge. A common European energy strategy is needed if we are to turn the energy and climate challenges into an
opportunity for Europe. A fundamental pillar of such a strategy should be clean and indigenous renewable energy sources combined with energy efficiency measures”.
EWEA strongly supports the Commission’s proposal for a European energy regulator to look at cross-border issues, as well as the Green Paper’s emphasis on the need for a single European grid. A European offshore grid would address many of the central goals of a European strategy: large-scale indigenous renewables in the form of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy to increase independence, and better interconnection to improve competition in the power market to the benefit of households and businesses. Furthermore, EWEA agrees with the Commission that more effective unbundling of generation and transmission activities is essential to improving third party access.
EWEA supports the proposed “Renewable Energy Road Map” but would have liked to see a greater commitment to mandatory 2020 targets for renewables. It would also have been appropriate to mention the Wind Energy Technology Platform, proposed by the wind energy sector, not least to ensure the necessary cost reductions and technology improvements in offshore wind technology, as proposed by the Copenhagen Strategy on Offshore wind power deployment.