Clean energy for Europe
The European Commission has published its long-awaited “Clean Energy Package”, consisting of a raft of legislation on energy efficiency, renewables and electricity market design. The objective is to put the EU on track to meet the 2030 energy and climate targets, notably in renewables and energy efficiency, and to adapt electricity market design to the “greening” of the power system. The 2030 targets will be enforced through a set of governance rules, whereby Members States have to report periodically on progress and EU action is taken if Members States collectively fall short. In general the Commission has stuck to the targets agreed by Heads of Government in 2014, with the notable exception that it proposes raising the 2030 energy efficiency target from 27 percent to 30 percent and making it binding.
The electricity market design proposals are ambitious and aim to remove the main remaining obstacles to an integrated European wholesale market, e.g. by restricting national government intervention on prices and security of supply, ensuring more integrated management of transmission networks and strengthening the power of European bodies such as ACER. A new EU body for DSOs is to be established to help with Network Code drafting, reflecting the growing importance of decentralised generation, storage and demand-side response to the European power system. The Commission also aims to empower energy consumers though clearer price signals, easier switching and better access to technology.
The legislative proposals will now go into the normal EU negotiation process, involving discussions with Member States in the Council and with the European Parliament. This is likely to take around two years, so the Package could well be finalised around the time that Brexit takes effect.