Published: Thu, 17 September 2015
MEP for Ireland-South, Seán Kelly, has called on the European Commission to put consumers first as European institutions look to implement a European “Energy Union”. The Fine Gael MEP was speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels today as Maroš Šefčovič, Commission Vice-President and driver of the Energy Union, departs for the Irish leg of a tour to European Member States.
Mr. Kelly asked the Vice President to “ensure that we put the needs of energy consumers at the centre of these discussions – that is to say, provide a secure, sustainable and, crucially, affordable energy supply.
“Energy costs in Ireland are too high. We need to make information on energy prices, energy suppliers, and the sourcing of energy readily available so as to better empower consumers to make the choices that can save them money on their bills, and contribute to a switch to a low-carbon economy.”
Kelly, who is currently at the forefront of negotiations on the new European Data Protection Regulation, added that the Energy Union Strategy must go hand-in-hand with the data-driven economy:
“The huge amounts of data available should be utilised to enable consumers to see where their money is going. Improvements in energy efficiency and increased energy savings are crucial; both in terms of increasing our energy security and reducing carbon emission. However, consumers need to see evidence of these benefits on the bills they receive.
“A smart, data-based, and responsive electricity market design would make it easier to increase the share of renewables in our energy mix”
The Kerry MEP who also heading discussions in the European Parliament on Climate Change ahead of the COP21 Paris Climate Conference in December where global leaders are expected to finalise an agreement to limit global carbon emissions and tackle the problem of global warming, has in recent months called for a high level of ambition, particularly in terms of Renewable Energy deployment.
Kelly called on Vice-President Šefčovič to recognize the huge potential for large-scale renewable energy generation in Ireland and the role that it can play in contributing to the security of supply in a European Energy Union.
“In Ireland, we are now facing a big challenge to reach our 2020 renewable energy targets. This should not negate from the fact that we have some of the world’s best resources for renewable energy generation – offshore wind and ocean energy in particular.
“I urge Mr. Šefčovič that should Ireland fail to reach its 2020 renewables target, to refrain from imposing any resulting export ban, and instead put instruments such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) into practice and help us to develop the infrastructure that would enable us to utilise our enormous resources and contribute towards increasing the energy security of our neighbours.”