Published: Thu, 01 December 2016
MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has welcomed a new package of legislative measures on energy released by the European Commission today (Wednesday).
Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels following the Commission’s Press Conference to launch the new package, Mr. Kelly, Ireland’s only full member of the Parliament’s influential Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee, noted that the proposals were “refreshingly ambitious”, and have the potential to bring “significant cost-savings to households down the line”.
“I’m pleased that these proposals have covered a number of important aspects of our energy system that needed to be addressed, and I think what has been proposed will enable us to reduce energy bills for consumers, increase the amount of renewables on the grid, increase security of energy supply, and meet our EU-wide emissions targets to combat the threat of climate change”
“These proposals were highly anticipated, and although we have not had a chance to go through them in great detail thus far, my early impression is that they show a good level of ambition and have kept the consumer in mind – this is important”
Among the legislative proposals put forward by the Commission today, there includes new rules for the functioning of the EU electricity market, revised legislation on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Energy Performance of Buildings, and plans to mobilise increased investment to meet the goals set out in each.
MEP Kelly noted that each proposal was welcome and provides a good basis from which to work on in Parliament in the coming months:
“It is crucial that we increase the amount of renewables in our energy mix in the coming years in order to fulfil our obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement. For this reason I welcome redesigning of the electricity market to make it more renewables-friendly, along with the revision of the renewable energy directive.
“The new market design will reward flexibility and adapt wholesale markets to cater for the variability of increased renewables – this will set the right signals for investment into increased renewable generation capacity”
“I’m also pleased with the ambition the Commission has shown on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Raising the target from the originally proposed 27% up to 30% for energy efficiency is appropriate given the coming into force of the Paris Agreement.
“Buildings are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption in the EU and 75% of the building stock is inefficient – that is a huge amount of wasted energy and an unacceptable level of avoidable emissions. Efficient homes mean less energy consumption, lower bills and a lower carbon footprint; it is a true no-brainer and I look forward to working on the proposal in the coming months.
“It will be important to mobilise the investment needed to make these improvements, and so the new initiative to unlock €10 billion in public and private funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings is welcome and will be a crucial part of this.
“I’m also pleased that the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will now put requirements on large buildings to provide recharging points for Electric Vehicles. The transport sector represents around a quarter of our Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU and so increasing the amount of Electric Vehicles on the road will have a significant role to play in decarbonising the transport sector.
Mr. Kelly concluded by noting the potential positive impacts for energy consumers that the legislative proposals can bring:
“In all, these are very consumer-focused proposals. Energy prices across the EU have gone up around 6% since 2008 and so it is pleasing to see that the Commission is seeking to address this issue.
“These proposals are the building blocks for the smart energy system of the future where energy is used efficiently, renewables provide most of our energy, and consumers are empowered to produce, generate, store, share, consume or sell energy on the market – and we are not that far away from making it a reality”, he concluded.