Revision of the TEN-E Regulation guidlines - Related Opinions
The EESC considers that the European Union must overcome the COVID-19 crisis by building a new model for society, one which will make our economies more green, just and resistant to future shocks. European recovery funds must enable businesses, innovators, workers and investors to affirm their role as world leaders in the expanding clean energy markets.
The European Economic and social Committee (EESC) supports the Commission's intention as set out in its Communication: integration of the electricity system with the heat and transport system is vital to reach the goals of climate neutrality, security of energy supply, including reduction of energy imports, and the goal of affordable prices for Europe's consumers and the European economy.
Just a few days ahead of last December's climate summit COP24 in Poland, the European Commission published its long-term strategy "A clean planet for all" presenting its vision for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner. While the document does not contain any new policy proposals, it provides the direction of travel of EU climate and energy policy and frames what the EU considers as its long-term contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement temperature objectives in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The EESC advocates for a stronger budget for the Connecting Europe Facility for after 2020.
The EESC recommends that the European Commission and the Member States further encourage synergies at project level between the three sectors, which are currently limited because of the rigidity of the budgetary framework as regards the eligibility of projects and of costs.
The EESC urges the co-legislators to maintain the commitment in the previous CEF regulation to spend "the major part" of the energy budget on electricity projects.
The EESC recommends that the financial capacity of the CEF programme under the next MFF should be increased and better balanced between the three sectors in order to maintain high credibility and attractiveness for investors.
The key message of the opinion is that transforming the energy system towards carbon-free, decentralised and digitalised supply offers enormous opportunities, in particular for structurally weak and rural regions in Europe. The development of renewable energy (RE) can have a major and beneficial impact on employment, and can be configured so as to provide a completely new stimulus for the regional economy. There is therefore potential for mutually reinforcing the positive effects of Europe's energy and cohesion policies. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) finds it regrettable that both the Commission and the Member States have yet to properly recognise this potential, let alone exploit it.
In response to the European Commission's communication on "Strengthening Europe's energy networks" (COM(2017)718 final), the European Economic and Social Committee shares the view that a sufficiently interconnected European energy grid is a prerequisite for achieving the aim of the Energy Union: to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy that makes the energy transition to a low-carbon economy possible in a competitive way; considers that investments in grid infrastructure should be implemented with the same intensity as other energy investments, and in particular in coordination with the expansion of renewables; calls on the Commission and the Member States to draw up two-yearly monitoring reports on the achievement of the renewable development targets and national and transnational network; suggests that actively involving organised civil society in the design phases of the interconnection projects can help to mitigate the lack of public support for some projects; recomm
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal for a new market design, a risk preparedness regulation and the new organisation of the energy regulators' cooperation. The Committee highlights that well-functioning electricity markets are a precondition for fulfilling the goals of the Energy Union. For the markets to function well, significant changes in the market design are necessary, particularly due to the increasing use of variable renewable electricity. The EESC appreciates the general approach of the market design package, especially the goals of putting consumers at the heart of the energy market, increasing electricity supply and strengthening regional cooperation.
The EESC welcomes the "clean energy" package, which aims to accelerate, transform and consolidate the EU economy's clean energy transition, while pursuing the important goals of economic growth and job creation. The proposed package includes important proposals in the areas of renewable energies and electricity market design and regulation, energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings, energy innovations, transport, and governance – and the Committee views many of the initiatives favourably. However, the opinion – drawing on nine other opinions concerned with the individual proposals of the clean energy package – also identifies a number of challenges that civil society and co-legislators need to be aware of.