The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Energy Price Concerns Resonate in EU Talks on 2030 Climate Goals

Energy Price Concerns Resonate in EU Talks on 2030 Climate Goals

The European Union should ensure that future climate and energy policies do not undermine the competitiveness of its industry, already weakened by a price gap with the U.S., the bloc’s member states said.

Energy ministers from the EU’s 28 nations had their first debate about 2030 carbon-reduction andrenewable energy strategy at their quarterly meeting in Brussels today. It followed yesterday’s gathering of environment ministers, where countries differed over how ambitious Europe’s emissions-cut target should be and how fast new policies should be adopted. The framework for the next decade will next be discussed by EU leaders at their March 20-21 summit.

“We need to make sure we combine our objectives for setting ambitious goals with increasing competitveness of the industry and safeguarding energy supply,” Greek Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis told reporters after the gathering. His country holds the EU rotating presidency through June.

The challenge for the EU is to reconcile its ambition to lead the global fight against climate change with efforts to help the economy regain steam. The bloc should tighten its greenhouse-gas reduction target to 40 percent in 2030 compared with 20 percent in 2020, according to a strategy outlined in January by the European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm.

Member states, industry, non-governmental organizations and lobbies are divided over the commission’s proposal. Groups including the Climate Action Network and Greenpeace call for stricter targets, while energy-intensive companies including ThyssenKrupp and Tata urge policy makers to avoid carbon costs for manufacturers prone to relocation of production abroad.

Long-Term Debate

“I think we will have to have a very thorough long-term debate about how we can use our state budgets to reduce part of the burden that now lies on the industry,” Germany Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the meeting today. Germany supports the 40 percent greenhouse-gas target that would be binding on each member state and an EU-wide goal to boost the share of renewable energyto 27 percent.

Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania said in a joint statement that the 2030 carbon goal should be set at a “realistic level” and take into account United Nations talks about a global deal to be agreed in 2015. They also said the EU emissions-trading system should remain the core tool for Europe to meets its emission-reduction goal.

“In order to reach this target cost effectively, intra-EU flexibility mechanisms — including innovative financing schemes — should be introduced, especially in the non-ETS sector, as an integral part of the climate and energy policy framework,” the six countries said.

Energy Prices

The agenda of the meeting today also included a discussion on energy prices in Europe after a report by the commission showed that electricity costs in some regions of the bloc are double those in the U.S., the EU’s main trading partner. Regulatory costs, such as taxes, levies and network costs, are the main reason for the increase in European prices, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said today.

“We’ve got to be able to offer our people lower prices and not with so much of a gap compared to our competitors,” he told reporters. “If member states reduce these taxes and levies, this can take pressure off the people who have to pay for energy.”

To help cut costs, member states should also accelerate efforts to implement energy legislation aimed at breaking down national barriers and develop interconnections to end the isolation of some member states from networks, Oettinger said.

Ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine, where the crisis deepened after Russia’s parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to send troops into the neighboring country. Ukraine is a transit point for gas accounting for about 16 percent of European demand.

“At this moment, there’s no reason for concern,” Oettinger said. “The gas situation is good. We had a mild winter, we’ve got gas reserves everywhere.”

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Business conference room via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Pope Francis

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy

Paul Stinson, EDF Pope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical,“Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”). As a clean energy advocate, I’m heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need ...
Electric vehicles

Innovating Today for the Homes of Tomorrow

David Glickson, NREL Shaping our energy future into one that is efficient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable is a significant undertaking. Much of this effort is focused around the energy industry, utilities, and power grids—which can seem...
Green microphone podcast

Listen Up: Does Solar Increase the Value of my House?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World I bet you don’t know that there is a home improvement investment that you can make that will increase the value of your house more than the investment cost. It’s not remodeling your bathroom (2 percent return). It’s not la...
Thumbs up

Even Solar Haters Are Loving SunEdison's Power Plant Strategy

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg

SunEdison Inc.’s focus on developing renewable energy plants worldwide, rather than the panels that make them work, has won over one of the industry’s top critics.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Outage Management for Power Plants

Building on this series’ success, the 14th Annual Outage Managemen...

SAP for Utilities

The SAP for Utilities conference is the most comprehensive SAP for Utili...

COMPANY BLOGS

Solar Power Helps Detroit Community Light Streets

Residents of Highland Park, a city almost surrounded by Detroit, receive...

Buyer Personas

If you’ve taken any of my efficiency-focused professional selling ...

The Creative Walk

Do you struggle to come up with creative ideas? When you desperately nee...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS