to call for focus on the future scenario for EU energy combining both a high degree of energy efficiency and a strong and increasing share of renewable energy sources;
to call for transparent and efficient policy strategies at all levels of governance to stimulate local and regional sustainable energy investment as a crucial tool aimed at the restoration of economic growth, given the fundamental recognition of the EC document of the fact that "the role of local organisations and cities will be much greater in the energy systems of the future".
The local and regional dimension, based on exchanges between the EP's rapporteur and the CoR's rapporteur, occupies a considerable place in the EP draft report, in which the EP ITRE Committee has pointed out that renewables would, in the long term, move to the centre of the energy mix in Europe, as they progress from technology development to mass production and deployment, from small-scale to larger-scale – integrating local and more remote sources .
Crucially for the CoR, and in line with its opinion, the EP draft report on Energy Roadmap 2050 has emphasised the urgent need for new, smart and flexible infrastructure – including smart grids and smart meters – and fully integrated network planning in order, inter alia, to integrate local and more remote sources of renewable energy across the EU, as has been proven necessary.
Moreover, the Council has taken on board several key concerns stressed in the CoR opinion and recognised the need to promote adequate actions for the general public, in particular concerning:
the role of the consumer, especially as regards demand-side management;
the consequences for competitiveness, innovation, growth, employment and jobs;
education and training of skills to meet the transition;
public awareness and acceptance;
addressing the consequences of potential increases in energy prices for consumers,
notably for the most vulnerable.
The CoR acquired high visibility through numerous high-level events in 2012, such as:
29/11 – 3/12/2012 - Participation in the side events of the UNCCC in Doha, Qatar:
World Climate Summit "Smart Buildings and Cities Session".
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- calls for the role of local and regional authorities to be properly recognised and backed up by adequate resources and capacities as well as suitable governance instruments insofar as they are in the front line, either directly as partners in local sustainable energy projects or when it comes to planning new infrastructure, granting authorisations, investments, public contracts, production and controlling energy consumption;
- reiterates that priority should be given to the integration of renewable energy, produced at local level from a variety of decentralised resources such as wind, hydro, geothermal, solar power and biomass, into the distribution network thus making energy transport and distribution infrastructure more intelligent (smart grids), a prerequisite for effective competition that can deliver real benefits to final consumers;
- stresses that meeting the increasing need for flexibility in the energy system requires suitable storage technologies – such as pumped storage units – at all voltage levels that can store surpluses and reconvert them into electricity for the grid on a large scale; strategic instruments for technology research and promotion should be developed and deployed to this end;
- recommends that information and communication technologies (ICT) play a greater role in facilitating the uptake of innovation, as multipliers of information, and energy-consumption solutions for strategic sectors such as smart cities, which include policies concerning sustainable mobility, smart grids, and sustainable building;
- stresses the urgent need to complete the implementation of an internal market in energy that helps guarantee energy supplies at affordable prices by 2014, to rectify the energy isolation of individual Member States by 2015, to institute a fair balance of resources among regions and to stabilise and improve the framework conditions for the European energy sector in order to limit the additional costs of the energy transition.