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EU policy brief: Fresh impetus for energy and climate policies

By Claire Roumet on 1er février 2016

The EU institutions in Brussels are busy preparing a number of new pieces of legislation, which are relevant for cities engaged in the energy transition. Under the leadership of the Dutch EU Presidency (see our recent blog article) and driven by the Paris agreement, the next six months shall give fresh impetus to energy and climate policies. Cities are already leading by example with innovative measures to reduce emissions, energy consumption and energy poverty.

Besides the work on the Energy Union, 2016 will be marked by the revision of three important Directives (called “recast” in eurojargon). Energy Cities has specific requests for each of them :

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
The reform of the EU Carbon market should allow to reach a higher price per ton of carbon. This reform for the period after 2020 will include a fund for the modernisation of the energy sector. We believe this fund will be most efficiently used if directed towards cities’ energy transition instead of financing fossil energy infrastructures.
Watch the ViEUws video debate on how EU ETS reform will shape the low-carbon economy

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)
The current focus on buildings only and the faith in smart meters are too restrictive. The new EED should promote an approach integrating an entire district and life-cycle analysis. This recommendation also applies to the new task force on energy poverty, launched last week by the EU Commission’s Vice-President Maros Sefcovic. According to Sefcovic, the Juncker plan should prioritise investment in housing and building renovation, as a way to create local employment and alleviate energy bills for vulnerable households.
Related reading : Draft report on a New Deal for Energy Consumers

The Renewable energy directive (RED)
From our point of view, this directive should include a “local chapter”. Since its adoption, the directive was instrumental to create a level playing field for renewable technology on the market. Now, we have to go one step further and use the Renewables Directive to further decentralise our energy system. Currently, investments in renewable energy are decreasing in a number of Member States (e.g. in France, investments fell from three billion euros in 2014 to less than one billion in 2015). What strikes when looking at EU-wide statistics : those countries which are reaching their renewable energy targets are the ones which have strongly invested in citizen-led solutions !

Thanks to your - our members’- contributions, Energy Cities’ is putting strong lobbying efforts in these topics. We will, of course, keep you informed on the progress !

Photo credit : Chepko Danil Vitalevich

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