On 19 January EU foreign affairs ministers endorsed a Climate Diplomacy Action Plan prepared by EEAS & DG CLIMA. The document was not initially published but has since been released after a freedom of information (access to documents) request. PDF copy accessible here.
LEAKED: Latvia’s energy minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and VP Šefčovič sent the following invite to EU energy ministers last Monday. As elsewhere, “pillars” are now described as “dimensions”, which signals the intention to integrate each part of the whole. Updated Thursday with conference draft agenda.
Rīga, 12 January, 2015
Europe’s ambition to create a single energy market as well as the long term challenge of climate change have already brought significant changes to the EU energy system. The obvious need to go further requires a new energy policy paradigm. Therefore, the European Council has set the goal of building an Energy Union aiming at affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Furthermore, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has made a strong case “to reform and reorganize Europe’s energy policy into a European Energy Union with a forward-looking Climate Change Policy“. He has called for us to pool resources, connect infrastructures, diversify our energy sources, reduce energy dependence, and to unite in order to strengthen our negotiating power vis-à-vis third countries.
We have to step up our efforts to complete the internal energy market, be more energy efficient, de-carbonise our economies and develop new ground-breaking technologies.
The time of a resilient Energy Union based on more security, solidarity and trust has clearly come. We have to seize this momentum.
Therefore, we are pleased to invite you or your representative to a defining high-level conference on the European Energy Union. The discussion will take place on February 6, 2015 in Rīga, Latvia. The one day event will include in-depth discussions on the Energy Union’s key dimensions and will be highlighted by special interventions of the Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council, the International Energy Agency and many others. A closed Ministerial level session will be organized to which you are kindly invited to participate (format 1+1).
The Latvian Presidency of the EU Council would also like to invite you to attend the Welcome Reception on February 5 from 19:00 to 22:00 in the Small Guild Hall, Amatu iela, 5, Rīga (format 1+1).
Registration opens on January 12 and is required by 20 January by filling in the online registration form automatically sent by NOVENTO accreditation system in a separate e-mail. Please be aware that due to the limitations in number of participants it will be not possible to register after the mentioned deadline. We will be pleased to host the representatives of your institution according to the set quota for a delegation (format 1+2).
For additional information please call […] or email […]. We look forward to welcoming you in Rīga.
Dana Reizniece – Ozola
Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia
Vice-President for Energy Union
A 7-page internal memo circulated among EC energy officials in November contains a long-list of 40 “key actions” that could or would contribute to “energy union” (whatever that means). Though I will not post the full leaked document here, I’ve made a summary list below to share what is and isn’t part of the EC’s current/recent thinking. I make no comment on the obvious duplications and overlaps. All the usual caveats regarding leaked drafts apply. Nudges in emphasis are my own. A final “energy union” paper is expected next month.
[draft/prospective] KEY EC ACTIONS 2015-16
- explore common purchasing gas
- (merged) review gas supply security rules, inc. explore reserves obligations
- closer EC involvement in IGAs with 3rd countries
- G7 G20 IEA dialogues i.a.
- diversify fuel supplies; gas corridors & LNG
- stronger Energy Community
- discuss external companies via-a-vis internal rules (e.g. Gazprom)
- assess industrial bases for energy technologies & knowledge
- assess capacities for renewables growth
- finish adoption of gas & electricity network codes (was due 2014)
- finish implementation of 3rd package; review 3rd package
- finish discussion paper re electricity retails markets (was due 2014)
- accelerate electricity & gas inter-connection plans (PCI & CEF rules)
- more regional cooperation in electricity; ensure capacity schemes don’t get (further) out of hand
- progress on smart grids; smart cities
- explore renewable energy growth strategy
- explore options to tackle prices, inc taxes, tariffs & levies
- explore governance options, inc poss stronger ACER role
- explore 2050 investment stimulation framework
- (2017-19) Review & prolong state aid guidelines for 2021-2030
- review of eco-design framework law
- review of energy labelling framework law
- review of energy efficiency framework law
- review of energy performance of buildings framework law
- review of vehicle CO2 standards regulations (cars, vans & trucks)
- further deployment of smart meters
- UNFCCC inc COP21 Paris (with EEAS)
- general revision of EU ETS for 2021-2030 phase 4 (with similar derogations)
- national 2030 GHG caps for non -ETS sectors (new ‘Effort-Sharing’ Decision)
- review of renewable energy framework law
- review of CO2 geological storage framework law
- review of fuel quality framework law
- develop biomass & biofuels policy 2021-30
- 2030 governance
- coordination with local air pollution laws/standards
- (2017-19) inclusion of land-use & forestry into GHG rules
- Horizon 2020 (& SET Plan)
- coordinate research with innovation
- coordinate research with investment and regulation
- coordinate funding e.g. Horizon 2020, NER300/400
- external diplomacy
- 2050 pathways initiative
Last month I posted a first version of a ‘correlation table’ aiming to show how the elements (or priorities) of a proposed “energy union” fit with basic EU treaty provisions and with other EU policies and laws.
Since then, incorporating feedback from a variety of people – for which thanks! – I’ve made a new clarified and expanded version of the same table, available in three formats below.
My basic point is that the Union institutions can only act in so far as they are empowered by the EU treaties and therefore that proposed actions must fit with the treaties. Moreover, with “energy union”, we are not starting with a blank page; we must take account of what has already been done over past years, which is substantial.
Further feedback, discussion and sharing as ever welcome.
Click on image to enlarge * PDF VERSION * Google Doc
Here it is: Annex 2 610-page PDF listing more than 2000 projects with total value around €1.3 trillion. Or, in other words, four-times over subscribed even before the instrument exists.
German draft plans to close coal-fired power plants will not lead to any extra cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Why? Because Germany has no plans (so far) to reduce the number of ETS allowances that it auctions each year going forward.
In other words, the surplus pollution rights, no longer required by operators of the affected installations, can be bought and used by any of the other 12,000 installations elsewhere in the EU. Allowances bought in one year can also be saved for use in any subsequent year.
Firms operating coal-fired power plants in Poland e.g. will very pleased at the extra surplus allowances available to them, pushing down EU-wide carbon prices even further and thus prolonging by years the time by which they will have to burn less coal and diversify across other energy options.
Other important questions remain to be answered in Berlin. Will owners of the closed installations be compensated for further income now forgone? According to press reports, some at least are seeking this. And if this happens, where will the money come from? ETS revenues perhaps? In any case, would such compensation from state resources be subject to state aid control and possible veto by the European Commission?
More interestingly, and perhaps as an alternative to direct compensation payments, if delivery of domestic plans requires German’s ‘Big Four’ companies to conclude with each other, and an effect of which would be to increase profits through higher wholesale domestic power prices, would this not also raise competition i.e. anti-trust concerns with the European Commission?
Lots of ground still to cover in these issues that I don’t think will be answered any time soon.
On 9 December EU energy ministers will agree further conclusions on the internal energy market. Based on a collection of passive verbs, the final text was agreed in advance by deputy perm reps in Coreper-1 this week and so all that remain to be done is for ministers to show-up and slap each other on the back for the cameras.
Council conclusions are rarely translated, never indexed, never published in the Official Journal and as such are usually forgotten about within a few months if not sooner. But before this latest text is forgotten, it’s worth checking if it says anything new of note.
I’ve checked, and it doesn’t.