Last chance for energy markets – Member states’ support key to its success
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) strongly welcomes the Energy Union Package published today by the European Commission. CEPI especially welcomes the emphasis put on delivering competitive energy prices, investing in the bioeconomy and establishing synergies between the energy efficiency, resource efficiency and circular economy policies.
“This package is the last chance to make energy markets in Europe work”, says Marco Mensink, CEPI Director General. The success of the Energy Union no longer depends on the Commission, but on member states’ willingness to “walk the talk”. CEPI expects national governments to urgently give their support to make the package a reality. A strong EU energy regulator is part of the solution. “In this case, ‘more Europe’ is the answer to the industry and consumers’ need for affordable and competitive energy,” he added.
The package not only recognises that energy costs for industry in Europe are uncompetitive, it also acknowledges that the root of the problem lies in the levies, taxes and additional costs energy consumers are charged for by the member states. If no measures are taken, the need for capacity payments will add yet another layer of costs, affecting all European energy consumers.
CEPI has great expectations for a number of key elements to be later defined in the package proposal. The Commission indicates renewable support schemes would need to be rationalised. The system of subsidies for burning wood for energy can no longer be sustained. Furthermore, establishing an EU biomass supply policy is urgently needed. In addition, energy recovery from waste should be limited to non-recyclable fractions, in line with the waste hierarchy and the requirements for separate collection.
Among the first proposed actions, the Emission Trading System reform offers the possibility to turn the ETS into a tool that rewards investments in low-carbon technologies, while ensuring industrial competitiveness. Engaging industry in this process is crucial. Moreover, the Energy Union should support industrial co-generation, recognising its role in delivering demand side flexibility. This should be part of the combined initiative on the internal energy market, together with the review of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy.
Note to the author:
European Commission: Energy Union: http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/energy-union/index_en.htm