EU energy market reforms announced

The European Union unveiled reforms on Wednesday to promote a greater share of renewables in Europe's grid by 2030, while also prioritising energy efficiency.

Through its energy efficiency initiatives the bloc plans to cut energy use by 30 per cent, but in a further blow to fossil power generation the 1,000 page document also include a phase out of subsidies for coal-fired plants.
EU flag
Miguel Arias Cañete, EU climate and energy commissioner, batted aside queries about a possible lack of support for the Paris climate deal by the US, saying incoming President Trump’s language on the subject had shown ‘substantial change’ since the election ended.

He said it would “not be a very intelligent move” for Trump to repudiate the deal.

“Electoral campaigns are something. But when you take your seat, you are responsible for growth and jobs,” Mr Arias Cañete told the Financial Times in an interview.

Mr Arias Cañete presented the overhaul of energy markets as an opportunity to spur the creation of 900,000 jobs and to pump $202bn (€190bn) into Europe’s struggling economy by increasing investment in wind power and other forms of renewable energy. Other measures include a rise in financial support for investment to accelerate the renovation of Europe’s building stock to use less energy.

Brussels must overcome resistance from some member states, most notably on tougher pollution rules for coal-fired power as well as capacity markets.

From 2020 the EU wants to improve its energy efficiency score, raising from 27 per cent to 30 per cent the bloc’s binding target for energy savings compared with a “business as usual” scenario.

EU targets under the Paris pact are binding on the bloc at large, but targets for member states are not binding.

Member states must produce a draft climate and energy plan by 2018 for regional consultations and a formal evaluation in Brussels, Mr Arias Cañete said. He favoured a “co-operative” approach with member states in the assessment of such plans but said the rules could be changed if this system did not work.

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