The meeting of Energy ministers in Denmark on Friday 20 April 2012 concluded by reaching an agreement on the approach recommended by the European Commission in its energy roadmap to 2050. Europe’s energy future will involve higher efficiency, more renewables and infrastructure upgrades, they said.

The ministers backed the roadmap’s ‘no regret’ options, which the commission says would apply to all decarbonisation scenarios envisaged in the document, regardless of the choices made by member states.

The agreement means energy ministers recognise the basic principles that the commission believes should underpin Europe’s transition towards a low-carbon energy system. But a number of crucial issues such as the balance between national strategies and EU policy will need to be explored, said Danish minister Martin Lidegaard.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Mr Lidegaard said member states would also need to work out how to finance the transition and reach an agreement on burden-sharing. Discussions on these aspects are likely to continue well beyond June when the Danish presidency of the EU ends.

One of the ‘no regret’ options is to achieve high energy efficiency. In the roadmap, the commission says significant savings would be made in all scenarios. Primary energy demand would drop by 16-20% by 2030 compared with the peaks of 2005-06.

Another conclusion is that renewables would account for at least 55% of EU final energy consumption by 2050. Existing infrastructure would be expanded and modernised to help supply large quantities of low-carbon energy.

European renewables association EREC described the outcome of Friday’s meeting as a “promising step” towards agreeing on a low-carbon pathway. “It is now high time to endorse a post-2020 renewable energy target,” said secretary general Josche Muth.

The ministers also discussed the  draft EED directive. Energy commissioner Günther Oettinger said he was now more optimistic about the chances of an agreement in June. They recognised that the law needs to be sufficiently ambitious, he stressed. 

Source: Ends, Europe