Tuesday

30th May 2023

EU says joint-up energy grid will cost €1 trillion

  • Europe must link up its energy grid to avoid future crises, said the commission (Photo: Naftogaz of Ukraine)

The European Commission has unveiled a new energy strategy for the coming decade, calling for the unification of the bloc's fragmented energy networks by means of €1 trillion in infrastructure investments.

The plan also highlights the need for greater energy savings and a more unified approach when negotiating contracts with non-EU states, together with a new drive to boost Europe's energy technology and innovation. Concrete legislative proposals will follow over the next 18 months.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The energy challenge is one of the greatest tests for us all," EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger told journalists in Brussels on Wednesday (10 November). "Putting our energy system onto a new, more sustainable and secure path may take time but ambitious decisions need to be taken now."

In order to "Europeanise" the bloc's energy policy, member states must end their protection of national energy champions, said the commissioner, a struggle clearly highlighted by the roughly 40 legal battles currently underway between the EU executive and national capitals.

Previous calls to unify the EU's energy market have met with strong opposition, although Mr Oettinger's German nationality adds considerable weight to this latest initiative, with Berlin traditionally being a leading opponent to market liberalisation.

By linking European gas and oil networks, the commission hopes to prevent future energy crises similar to the gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, which left several EU states without Russian gas during the height of one of Europe's coldest winters in recent times.

Ahead of the bloc's first European Summit dedicated to energy on 4 February 2011, Mr Oettinger said greater energy efficiency was also a key element of the plan, indicating his intentions to come forward with binding rules in this area.

New incentives will also be unveiled to help homeowners and local authorities to renovate draughty buildings in order to cut energy bills. On Tuesday the European Parliament's energy and industry committees unexpectedly adopted a report calling for binding energy efficiency targets to be implemented across the bloc.

"Making the EU target to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 binding will be crucial if it is not to be missed," said French Green MEP Yannick Jadot.

Parliament's Green group was disappointed by the commission's new energy strategy however, saying it showed a "shocking pro-nuclear bias" and dubbed its energy efficiency targets as "vague."

Socialists also called for a greater emphasis on energy efficiency, with a number of environment NGOs in agreement. "Improving energy efficiency is the simplest method to fight climate change and you can see the benefits immediately," Brook Riley, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth, told this website.

The new EU strategy follows a recent report by International Energy Agency that predicts peak oil production around 2035, with prices reaching over $200 a barrel.

Mr Oettinger considers the issue even more pressing. "The amount of oil available globally, I think, has already peaked," he said while presenting the EU plan.

Latest News

  1. Germany unsure if Orbán fit to be 'EU president'
  2. EU Parliament chief given report on MEP abuse 30 weeks before sanction
  3. EU clashes over protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  4. EU to blacklist nine Russians over jailing of dissident
  5. Russia-Ukraine relations the Year After the war
  6. Why creating a new legal class of 'climate refugees' is a bad idea
  7. Equatorial Guinea: a 'tough nut' for the EU
  8. New EU ethics body and Moldova conference This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us