EU's Energy Future Progressing, Says Report

The decarbonisation of the European economy is well under way,” said the second State of the Energy Union report from the European Commission's Energy Union and Climate initiative, launched in 2015.

Energy UnionThe initiative recognizes the far-reaching implications of climate change policy, noting that “The Energy Union is about more than energy and climate alone' it is about accelerating the modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low carbon and efficient in energy and resources, in a socially fair manner.” The ultimate goal of the initiative, the report noted, “is to make sure that Europe's consumers, workers and businesses benefit from it.”

The initiative spelled out in a World Nuclear Association report, has five broadly-based goals: Energy security, integrating fully the European energy market, improving energy efficiency to streamline demand, promoting research and development and decorbonizing the economy.

Certainly, each of those goals interacts with the others, but decarbonisation is where the rubber meets the road. The report said – and, yes, this involves transportation – that the ambition was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 60 percent from 1990 levels – “and be firmly on the path toward zero, while ensuring the mobility needs of people and goods as well as global connectivity.”

The goals focus on road transportation, “which is responsible for over 70 percent of transport greenhouse gas emissions.”

Progress is also being made in reducing demand through increased efficiency. “A series of accompanying initiatives on energy efficiency will ensure that the target (30 percent efficiency improvement by 2030) can be delivered cost-efficiently,” the report said.

Such massive changes come with a price tag. The report said that annual investments of $400 billion would be needed over the decade of 2020 to 2030. “Therefore work on investments will be intensified in 2017,” the report noted.

While noting progress on all fronts, Maros Sefcovic, who heads the Energy Union initiative, presented the report to the Commission on Feb. 1. Sofcovic said that 2016 was the “year of delivery,” while 2017 would be the “year of implementation.”

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