O n 25th February the Commission issued a Communication entitled ” A framework strategy for a resilient energy union with a forward looking climate change policy.” It is remarkable for the scope of its ambition, allied to the absence of detail on where the huge sums of money will come from to pay for all the investments and research the EU wishes to see.
The Energy Union has five main characteristics.
The first is “Security, solidarity and trust”, which is the EU’s way of presenting its intention to take over the strategic direction of energy policy in each member state, and to integrate each state’s energy and energy policy into an EU wide system under their control. The EU wishes to take over negotiating supplies of energy from outside the EU. “Particular attention will be paid to updating the strategic partnership on energy with Ukraine”. They wish to cut dependence on Russian gas (crucial for 6 member states at the moment) by saving energy, by switching more to non fossil fuels, and by importing more US gas and worldwide LNG.
The second is a fully integrated internal energy market. They wish to establish EU regulatory control over electricity, and ensure at least 10% of a country’s power is governed by interconnector arrangements to other EU states. They wish to integrate the transmission and computer systems.
The third is energy efficiency improvements to cut demand. They wish to “promote the use of road charging schemes” to cut private road transport and wish to electrify both trains and cars.They wish to decarbonise energy as their fourth aim, with a target of a 40% reduction in CO2 by 2030 compared to 1990. They wish to increase renewables further, and biofuels.
They fifthly want a union for research and innovation. Co-ordination and working together is designed to produce smart grids, demand reducing consumers, better homes, and electric transport.
Nowhere does this document give us any figures on how the mighty costs of this programme will be financed. There is mention of a large investment programme which they hope the private sector will undertake. There is little mention of the current very high costs of EU energy, other than to tell us EU gas prices are more than twice those in the US. There is just the hope that we will get better at renewables so they will become cheaper. There is no comment on how the massive Euro 120bn of current subsidies to energy will be eliminated.
The EU’s energy policy is its second worst EU disaster after the Euro. It is hostile to business, it is deindustralising much of the EU, and unfriendly to consumers. This document will make it worse.