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Clean energy in the Baltics: preparing national plans for 2021-2030

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 15.11.2018.Print version
European Parliament adopted proposals on new rules on renewables and energy efficiency in the member states. This is a vital step in assisting the Baltic States’ path towards transition to “clean energy” policies. However, the Baltic States’ governments have to do the homework: prepare national plans for 2021-30 concerning emission reduction, securing energy supply and rational use of existing resources.

Peoples’ existence is based on various forms and sources of energy: e.g. for lighting, heating, transport, industry and households. In everyday’s life, various energy sources “powers” washing machines, computers, televisions and other devices. Fulfilling these objectives requires wiser energy use and effective socio-political measures to formulate rational national energy mix. European Parliament adopted this November key proposals on the clean energy issues in the member states.


Union’s energy policy’s proposals

The EU’s energy union policy is aimed at delivering on member states economies’ transition onto a low-carbon, secure and competitive path. Besides, the Commission ensures political instruments in making secure, sustainable and affordable energy sources in the main development sectors, such as energy, climate actions, environment protection, mobility and transport. The EU objectives include recommendations for the member states in: - securing energy supplies; - expanding the internal energy market; - increasing energy efficiency; - reducing emissions and decarbonising the economy; and - supporting research and innovation.

See more in the Union’s energy priorities:

 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/energy-union-and-climate_en

 

The European Parliament approved at present only half of the eight legislative proposals in the “Clean Energy for All Europeans package” initiated in November 2016; they have been formulated in the “Energy Performance in Buildings Directive” adopted in May 2018, The latter was regarded so important that the Directive entered into force on the twentieth day following the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (hence it came into force in the member states on 9 July 2018). The new Directive has huge potential for an efficient building sector in the member states, which is the largest single energy consumer in Europe. It includes measures that would accelerate the rate of building renovation towards more energy efficient systems and strengthen the energy performance of new buildings.

The Directive can be seen in: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?toc=OJ%3AL%3A2018%3A156%3ATOC&uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2018.156.01.0075.01.ENG 


The “clean energy package” is a key element of the Commission's political priority of “a resilient European energy union with a forward-looking climate change policy", aimed at giving Europeans access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy and making the EU a world leader in renewable energy.


The “Clean Energy for All Europeans” proposals cover energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply and energy governance rules. Besides, the Commission proposed a new way forward for Ecodesign as well as a strategy for connected and automated mobility.  On clean energy see press release:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4009_en.htm/  

Latvian version in: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4009_lv.htm   


On energy performance in buildings see:

https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings


Commission’s opinion

Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič underlined that the European Parliament’s approval “unlocked a true potential of Europe's clean energy transition”, which helped the member states to translate EU actions into more jobs, lower energy bills for consumers and less energy imports. The Energy Union is coming of age, going from strength to strength".


Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added that the approval of the four out of eight initial proposals of the EU package on “Clean Energy for All Europeans” has been a strong signal that the Commission has been “on the right track and would deliver on its pledges”. The Commission’s ambitious commitment to clean energy in Europe and the Paris Agreement in 2015 will be made a reality by the adoption of necessary legislation; now it is up to the member states to show that similar ambition and leadership is taken in order to approve their national energy and climate plans, and to submit them to the Commission for coordination by the end of 2018.


Effect for Latvian energy policy

The new EU regulatory framework is to be introduced through Latvian national energy and climate plans, bringing regulatory certainty and enabling conditions for essential investments to take place in the construction sector. Through these measures, Latvian consumers will become fully active players in the transition to clean and “green” energy.


The “green-clean energy” package fixes two new targets for the member states up to 2030: 

- a binding renewable energy target of at least 32%, and 

- an energy efficiency target of at least 32.5%, which will stimulate member states’ industrial competitiveness, boost growth and jobs, reduce energy bills, help tackle energy poverty and improve air quality. 


Full implementation of these targets in the states would lead to emission reductions for the whole EU by about 45% by 2030 (compared to 1990-level), instead of initial 40%. To strive towards a long-term greenhouse gas reduction objective, the framework sets up a robust governance system of the European energy union.


Main achievement’s spheres

There are three main aspects in the new legislative package for the Latvian (and other member states) energy policies:

a)     In renewable energy: - sets a new, binding, renewable energy target for 2030 of at least 32%, including a review clause by 2023 for an upward revision of the EU level target. - Improves the design and stability of support schemes for renewables. - Delivers real streamlining and reduction of administrative procedures. - Establishes a clear and stable regulatory framework on self-consumption. - Increases the level of ambition for the transport and heating/cooling sectors. - Improves the sustainability of the use of bioenergy.

b)     In energy efficiency: - Sets a new energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32.5%, with an upwards revision clause by 2023; -Extends the annual energy saving obligation beyond 2020, which will attract private investments and support the emergence of new market actors; - Strengthen rules on individual metering and billing of thermal energy by giving consumers (especially those in multi-apartment building with collective heating systems) clearer rights to receive more frequent and more useful information on their energy consumption, enabling them to better understand and control their heating bills. - Require member states to introduce transparent, publicly available national rules on the allocation of the cost of heating, cooling and hot water consumption in multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings with collective systems for such services.

c)      In governance of the energy union and climate action issues: - Puts in place simplified, robust and transparent governance for the energy union, which promotes long-term certainty and predictability for investors and ensures that the states can work together towards achieving the 2030 targets and the EU's international commitments under the Paris Agreement. - Calls for each EU state to prepare a national energy and climate plan for the period 2021- 2030, covering all the five dimension of the energy union issues and taking into account the longer-term perspective. - Aligns the frequency and timing of reporting obligations across the five dimensions of the energy union and with the Paris Climate Agreement, significantly enhancing transparency and reducing the administrative burden for the EU states.

 

The next steps will be for the Council of Ministers to finalise the present formal approval of the three laws in the coming weeks. This endorsement will be followed by the publication of the texts in the Official Journal of the Union, and the new legislation will enter into force 3 days after publication.

 

More information in the following websites: 

Clean Energy for All Europeans

Renewable energy

Energy Efficiency

Governance of the Energy Union

Energy Union

Energy Efficiency of Buildings.


General source: Commission press release in:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6383_en.htm?locale=en/ Brussels, 13 November 2018.






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