Public investment in energy infrastructure as part of the solution to climate issues

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Practical information

  • Composition of Study Group
  • Administrator: Ágota BAZSIK, Assistant: Dániel MAKAY  
  • Foreseen for the TEN Section: 21 June 2022
  • Foreseen for the EESC Plenary session: 21-22 September 2022

Background and objectives of the own-initiative opinion

Based on the European Green Deal Strategy, in its Communication of September 2020, the Commission called for "Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition", proposed to make the European Union's climate targets more ambitious and presented a plan to raise the binding target for the reduction of net emissions to at least 55% by 2030. On 11 December 2020 the European Council endorsed that target, while underlining the importance of considerations of fairness and solidarity and of leaving no one behind. On 25 May 2021, it reaffirmed these conclusions and urged the European Commission to present its legislative package together with an in-depth assessment of the environmental, economic and social impact at Member State level.

With reference to the future organisation of energy systems and infrastructure, the TEN section has repeatedly stressed the importance of the active participation of all consumers – households, businesses and energy communities – in the development of smart energy systems. Although the Commission committed itself to putting the public at the heart of its new energy and climate policy in the "European Energy Union", there have been no visible initiatives in this direction so far.

As highlighted in the EESC's opinion entitled Between a trans-European super grid and local energy islands (TEN/706), the issue of the ownership and control of infrastructure should be further clarified when public investments in infrastructure are discussed, particularly as this involves a considerable amount of public funding. 

The discussion in the study group should address such issues as:

  • Ensuring public investment in infrastructure and tackling the question of ownership and control thereof;
  • Involving all consumers – households, businesses and energy communities – in the development of smart energy systems;
  • Pushing ahead with the expansion of infrastructure through public investment;
  • Ensuring security of supply;
  • Minimising energy poverty through public ownership;
  • Catching up on the investment backlog and grid expansion in order to accelerate the climate transition towards renewable energy and achieve climate objectives.