Local leaders adopt three opinions on the energy package as the key tool to revamp growth and fight global warming
The members of the European Committee of the Regions have adopted a set of legislative and policy recommendations on the energy package, presented by the European Commission in November 2016. The ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package is the main instrument to move forward Europe’s sustainable energy transition. It covers energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply and governance rules for the Energy Union in addition to Ecodesign and a strategy for connected and automated mobility.
Local leaders have taken clear positions on four specific elements of the energy package: governance, energy efficiency, renewables and electricity markets.
Bruno Hranić (HR/EPP), Mayor of the Croatian city of Vidovec, is the rapporteur of the opinion on the ‘Energy Union Governance and Clean Energy’ . Hranic said: ‘The Energy Union needs a multi-level governance to be efficient. The concept of multi-level governance should be part of a separate chapter on the European Commission proposals to Member States. The Energy Union can only succeed if Member States formally consider in their planning and reporting the commitments, achievements and know-how of cities and regions. The European Commission should be required to include one of our members in the Energy Union Committee’. Cities and regions support the establishment of a ‘Multilevel Energy Dialogue Platform’, a permanent cooperation structure between Member States and local and regional authorities and including businesses, investors and other relevant stakeholders. Local leaders want Members States to present short, medium and long-term energy and climate policy scenarios along with cost-benefit analysis.
Members adopted an opinion on ‘energy efficiency and buildings’ by rapporteur Michiel Rijsberman (NL/ALDE), Member of Flevoland Province Council . Rijsberman declared: ‘We support an energy efficiency target of 40% by 2030 because it’s good for the economy and because it will reduce Europe’s CO2 emissions by 40%. Energy efficiency can also contribute to creating three million extra jobs for Europeans’. Cities and regions regret that energy audits of companies are not included in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and propose to modify the EED demands for individual metering and billing for heating as these are not always cost efficient and technical feasible. The CoR considers access to funding crucial for the result of the energy package and calls on the European Commission to earmark structural funds resources after 2020 for clean energy for all Europeans.
Daiva Matonienė (LT/ECR) , Member of Šiauliai City Council and former minister of environment of Lithuania is the rapporteur of the adopted opinion on ‘ renewable energy and the internal energy market in electricity’ . Matonienė said: "We need to be ambitious when it comes to increasing our use of clean energy sources but we need to do so in a ‘localist’ way, meaning by enabling regions and cities to adapt measures to their specificities and not putting them into a legislative straightjacket. We need to remember that Member States have different capacities when it comes to renewable energy and we need to be ambitious, but also realistic and cost-efficient. Overall we welcome the European Commissions "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package but as local and regional authorities we would like to see more to be done in terms of ensuring greater electricity market integration. I personally also believe that the Commission should pay more attention to the development of new environmentally-friendly and energy efficient technologies, in line with the technological neutrality principle.
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