More research and innovation in the energy sector and a need for a Europe-wide public dialogue on energy

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The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan is necessary for speeding up the transformation of Europe's energy system, insists the EESC in its opinion on the SET Plan, adopted during the February plenary session. The EESC believes that the new energy policy should be based on developing key sectors for research and innovation and on encouraging new ideas and concepts such as renewable power generation technologies and other low-carbon technologies. The EU has to innovate in terms of how energy is produced and transported, how it is delivered and serviced to customers.

The SET plan must reflect the real-life situation in Europe – if the new energy technologies increase the final energy prices the EESC feels that correction can be expected. Consumers should be involved in the process and energy poverty should be combatted through social policy measures, education and training. There is a need for a European Energy Dialogue with the general public and civil society so that they can take ownership of the energy transition and the costs of various technologies. The EESC can acts as a catalyst in this dialogue and it could be done through a European civil society forum.

The EESC supports an European approach to energy supply and creating genuine solidarity in this filed. The importance of gas in the energy mix in terms of energy security for Europeans is not to be ignored. Investment and research and development in the area of storage needs to be encouraged so that Member states have joint reserves.  

The Energy Union means making energy more secure, sustainable and affordable for the end user. It will allow a free flow of energy across borders and a secure supply in every EU country, for every European. The SET plan is vital in this process.