EU internal energy market to be completed by 2015, EC sets "Energy 2020" targets

The European Commission has presented on 10 November its Communication “Energy 2020” setting the main objectives for EU energy policy over the next ten years. This strategy details the five top priorities, which will be the base for concrete legislative initiatives and proposals to be put forward by Commission within the next 18 months, and which will be on the agenda for the discussion by Heads of States and Governments at the very first EU Summit on Energy on 4 February 2011.

The strategy presented by the Commission in its Communication entitled "Energy 2020" develops the main objectives set by the European Union regarding energy policy which are also part of "Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth", as adopted by the European Council in June 2010. These strategic goals will inform the concrete measures to be proposed within the next ten years in order to meet the challenges of energy saving, renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement.

Five top priorities of EU “Energy 2020” strategy

  1. Energy savings: The Commission proposes to focus its initiatives on the two sectors with the biggest energy saving potential: transport and buildings. To help house owners and local entities to finance renovation and energy saving measures, the Commission will propose investment incentives and innovative financial instruments by mid 2011. The public sector should take energy efficiency into consideration when buying works, services or products though public procurement procedures in the EU. In the industrial sector, energy efficiency certificates could be an incentive for companies to invest in technology which uses less energy.
  2. Pan-European integrated energy market with infrastructures: The Commission sets a target date for completing the internal energy market by 2015. No Member State should be isolated, and over the next ten years, overall energy infrastructure investments in the EU of Euro 1 trillion are needed. To speed up essential EU strategic projects, the Commission proposes simplified and shorter building permits, setting a maximum time frame until final authorisation and EU funding. A "one-stop shop" should coordinate all the permit requests needed to realize a project.
  3. 27 States, one voice on energy in the world: It is proposed that the EU coordinates its energy policy vis-à-vis third countries, especially in its relation with key partners. Within the neighbourhood policy, the Commission proposes to extend and deepen the Energy Community Treaty to further integrate countries willing to participate in the EU’s energy market. A major cooperation with Africa is also announced, which aims at providing sustainable energy to all citizens of this continent
  4. Europe's leadership in energy technology and innovation: Four major projects in key areas for Europe's competitiveness will be launched, such as new technologies for intelligent networks and electricity storage, research on second-generation biofuels and the 'smart cities' partnership to promote energy savings in urban areas.
  5. Safe, secure and affordable energy through active consumers: The Commission proposes new measures on price comparison, switching suppliers, clear and transparent billing.