On the eve of a new heat wave and national holiday weekend in Belgium the EU Commission presented its long anticipated Energy package including more details on a new deal for energy consumers, a redesign of the European electricity market and an update energy efficiency labelling and revision of the EU Emissions Trading System.

The package is an important step towards implementing the Energy Union strategy with a forward looking climate change policy, launched as one of the political priorities of the Juncker Commission in February 2015. The  proposals give prominence to the “energy efficiency first” principle and put households and business consumers at the heart of the European energy market.  The Energy Union strategy is designed to help deliver our 2030 climate and energy targets requiring a fundamental transformation of Europe’s electricity system including the redesign of the European electricity market. The Communication launches a Public Consultation on what the new electricity market design should look like in order to meet consumers’ expectations, deliver real benefits from new technology, facilitate investments, notably in renewables and low carbon generation; and recognise the interdependence of European Member States when it comes to energy security. This should reap maximum benefits from cross-border competition and allow decentralised electricity generation, including for self-consumption and support the emergence of innovative energy service companies.

EU Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “In the Energy Union strategy, we committed to empowering European consumers, creating a single well-functioning energy market, putting energy efficiency first and becoming the number one in renewables. Today, five months after the adoption of the Energy Union strategy, this Summer Package shows our determination to decarbonise our economy and to give consumers a central role in Europe’s energy transition. It marks not only a new deal for consumers, but a new deal for Europe´s entire energy system.”

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Actions speak louder than words. Today we take a decisive step towards enshrining the EU’s target of at least 40% emissions cut by 2030 into law. My message to our global partners ahead of the Paris climate conference: the EU stands by its international commitments.  And my message to investors, businesses and industry: invest in clean energy; it’s here to stay and continue to grow. With these proposals, Europe is once again showing the way and leading the global the transition to a low-carbon society.”

EASE, the European Association for the Storage of Energy welcomed the recognition of energy storage as a major player in balancing the system, in helping further RES integration, in delivering increased necessary flexibility and allowing – at the same time – for investment deferral in Transmission & Distribution networks whenever achievable. According to EASE, a market based approach will allow for a most optimal integration of energy storage. EASE is also pleased to see that the European Commission is seriously considering market design rules, such as long term price signals and short-term markets, which provide the needed certainty to drive investments in the European electricity system. These long term signals are fundamental if one wants to minimise decarbonisation costs and allow efficient investment in energy storage technologies. As recognised by the Florence Forum on 05.06.2015 (XXVIII European Electricity Regulatory Forum, Florence, 4-5 June 2015, Conclusions) the EC seeks to define a level playing field for all flexibility providers, including Energy Storage.