“If we want a cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy, we have to create an internal energy market where European rules apply”, says Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Vice President for the Energy Union, in an exclusive interview with Energy Post. According to Šefčovič, “big parts of our energy market are [still] overregulated”. To take a decisive leap towards the Energy Union, the Commission has decided to put all its energy eggs in one basket and come up with a big “winter package” of energy proposals before the end of the year. “I made the promise that 2016 would be the year of delivery”, says Šefčovič, “and I intend to keep that promise.”
This was a big week for Europe. The EU agreed to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement – ahead of individual Member States – and thereby ushered in its entry into force. After migration, Brexit and the troublesome trade agreement with Canada, it was embraced as a welcome sign of European unity.
But it does not mean all is going swimmingly for the Energy Union. The energy efficiency package due in mid-October has been postponed to the end of the year and both national governments and senior energy execs (see our interviews with the CEO’s of Eon and Enel Green Power) seem to have less faith in a European approach to energy policy.
Nevertheless, the European Commission’s Vice President in charge of the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, is stubbornly optimistic. He explains that one “winter package” of policy proposals, incorporating energy efficiency, makes a lot of sense. His vision is still for a European internal energy market where price signals are leading. He says national capacity markets are expensive and there are too many of them.
He expects Member States to see sense on security of gas supplies and approve new EU legislation in this area. He views energy efficiency as a game-changer for Ukraine and is very enthusiastic about the Central East South Europe Gas Connectivity (CESEC) group which met for the first time in September.
He further pleads with Member States “to start planning and drafting national climate and energy plans because investors say: the global agreement is there, we understand that Europe is modernising its legislative framework, we see enthusiasm from cities, but what we still need to see is Member State strategies.”