The EU Commission published the Energy Union communication “A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy” COM2014/80 February 25, 2015 pointing to the 94% percent of transport reliance on oil of which 90% is imported, € 120 billion per year – directly or indirectly – on energy subsidies, often not justified, and the over  € 1 trillion investment needed into the energy sector in EU by 2020 alone.

The Energy Union strategy identifies 5 critical dimensions to bring greater energy security, sustainability and competitiveness:

  1. Energy security, solidarity and trust;
  2. A fully integrated European energy market;
  3. Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand;
  4. Decarbonising the economy, and
  5. Research, Innovation and Competitiveness

According to the Commission “Many Member States currently have inadequate security of electricity supply frameworks in place and they use outdated and inconsistent approaches to assessing security of electricity supply and therefore the Commission will establish a range of acceptable risk levels for supply interruptions, and an objective, EU-wide, fact-based security of supply assessment addressing the situation in Member States. This will take into account cross-border flows, variable renewable production, demand response and storage possibilities. Capacity mechanisms should only be developed to address security of supply if a regional system adequacy assessment points to such a need, taking into account the potential for energy efficiency and demand-side response. The document also referred to “a need to expand the possibilities for distributed generation and demand-side management, including intraday markets, to develop new high-voltage long distance connections (supergrids) and new storage technologies.

However some questions on inclusion of FC and H2 in the passage on Electrification of transport remain as the Commission states on page 14: “Electrification of transport is important to break oil dependency and to decarbonise transport, especially for road (short and medium distance) and rail transport. Europe needs to speed up electrification of its car fleet and other means of transport and become a leader in electro-mobility and energy storage technologies. This requires a full integration of electric vehicles in urban mobility policies and in the electricity grid, both as energy consumers and potential storage facilities.

With regards to Research priorities the document states: …”the new European energy R&I approach  should accelerate energy system transformation. This should build on Horizon 2020 and involve all Member States, stakeholders and the Commission. Actions should be grouped around the following four core priorities, to which Member States and the Commission would commit: – Being the world leader in developing the next generation of renewable energy technologies, including environment-friendly production and use of biomass and biofuels, together with energy storage; – Facilitating the participation of consumers in the energy transition through smart grids, smart home appliances, smart cities, and home automation systems; – Efficient energy systems, and harnessing technology to make the building stock energy neutral, and – More sustainable transport systems that develop and deploy at large scale innovative technologies and services to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Energy Union proposal will be discussed at the Energy and Transport Council on March 5.

(Photo: one of Europe’s latest hydrogen refuelling stations in St. Lo, La Manche, France opened on January 26 ,2015)