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Policy, Press2006

Green Paper "A European Strategy for Secure, Competitive and sustainable Energy for Europe"

08.03.2006

EREC welcomes the debate, but sees the paper as a missed opportunity for outlining a sustainable EU energy supply. Today the European Commission published a green paper called “A European Strategy for Secure, Competitive and Sustainable Energy for Europe”, which, in the view of the European Renewable Energy Industry is a missed opportunity for showing the way forward in Europe’s energy policy and strategy.

“Green papers should set out a range of ideas for public discussion and debate. This paper does not set out any new ideas, but tries to find solutions for problems which we create ourselves. Instead it should propose ways of avoiding problems in the first place and create a vision for a sustainable, indigenous energy supply” says Oliver Schaefer, Policy Director of EREC.

While EREC welcomes the idea of a more “Europeanised” energy policy in order to coordinate international supply policies for imports, a clear signal should also be set for changing the supply structure towards a less import dependent fuel mix, based to a large extent on renewable energies.

In combination with energy efficiency renewables could easily supply 25% of Europe’s energy needs by 2020, if the necessary policy measures are introduced on a European level. Instead of sending out a strong and clear long-term commitment for renewables by proposing new mandatory EU targets in this field, the green paper is discussing this only in parts, when talking about possibilities and impact assessments, which in fact are already made several times.

Renewable energy sources strengthen security of supply, protect the climate, create jobs and entail no hidden external costs. Energy efficiency and renewable sources are the ideal means for the EU to boost competitiveness, improve security of supply and protect the environment – but they need political support to achieve their potential. A pre-condition for guaranteeing this support is the setting of long-term mandatory targets in order to guarantee stability and commitment for investment decisions.

“Coal and nuclear power have received billions of Euros in subsidies during the past decades and we are still trying to solve the problems we have with these sources. Oil and gas prices are increasing rapidly and we still believe in absurd forecasts of prices over the next 30 years. Why are we not able to change our mind-maps and think of making Europe the most energy independent region of the world?” says Arthouros Zervos, President of EREC.

To guarantee security, stability and prosperity in Europe, a real energy policy is a crucial requirement for the European Union and the 25 Member States. Within the framework of the treaties the Union has to respond to security of energy supply, economic growth, sustainable development, climate change, employment and technological development.

“Only renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency have a positive effect on all of these goals. We hope that the debate on the green paper will stimulate the discussion on the necessary uptake of renewables and energy efficiency for Europe’s energy supply, competitiveness and environmental protection, during the coming year.” Schaefer added.

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