The transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system is one of the biggest challenges the world faces in the coming years. But change does not come overnight. Many countries all over the globe strive to reach their energy and climate goals that often lie numerous years in the future. As does the European Union. Wednesday the European Commission presented its strategy for the coming ten years. The five priorities set in Energy 2020 should enable the EU in meeting its goals for 2020: a twenty per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a twenty per cent increase in renewable energy usage and a twenty per cent boost in energy efficiency.
The presented strategy is also agenda setting for the first EU energy summit on 4th February 2011.
For achieving an energy efficient Europe, the Commission proposes to aim its activities at the transport and building sectors. Which it sees as having the largest energy saving potential. To build a truly pan-European integrated energy market the Commission has 2015 as the year that all member states have to be connected to the European internal energy market. By making the energy market more consumer friendly, it hopes to empower consumers and achieve the highest level of safety and security. To extend Europe’s leadership in energy technology and innovation four large scale projects on new technologies for smart electricity grids and energy storage, implementing large-scale sustainable second generation biofuel production and providing cities, urban and rural areas with ways of making greater energy savings. By integrating energy markets and regulatory frameworks with neighboring countries the Commission wants to strengthen the external dimension of the EU energy market.
The priorities seem sensible enough and some of the planned actions could even be called commendable, like providing the entire continent of Africa with sustainable energy. While others could be questioned, like focusing on second generation biofuel, while newer perhaps more sustainable biofuel sources are already available.
All together, sure it will help the EU in reaching its energy and climate goals. But will it be enough? Only time will tell. Ten years time to be exact.
© Jorn van Dooren | www.bitsofscience.org