The second report on the Energy Union state presented yesterday claims that Europe is on track to achieving its 2020 targets in terms of GHG emissions, energy efficiency and renewables. In order to strengthen this process, the Commission also announced a new Energy Union Tour.
Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union, said that “the Energy Union is not limited to energy and climate, it is about accelerating the in-depth modernization of the entire European economy, turning it into a low-carbon, energy and resources efficient economy, and this in a socially fair way. “
Exporting the idea of the Energy Union
Šefcovic added “the external dimension of the Energy Union must also be strengthened in order to boost EU leadership at the global level. Now that a large part of the legislative proposals are on the table, we must make of 2017 the year of its launch. This is the message that I will convey to the Member States during the new Energy Union Tour, which will begin on February 3rd. “
Emission and consumption targets achieved
And the fact is that for the Energy Union 2016 was a year of results in which the vision of its Framework Strategy translated into concrete initiatives, both legislative and non-legislative, in particular through the “Clean Energy for All Europe” package, filed on November 30, 2016.
As the report concludes, the EU has already reached its target for final energy consumption by 2020. The same is true for greenhouse gas emissions: by 2015 these emissions were 22% lower than those of 1990.
Another trend worth noting is that the EU continues to make progress in disassociating economic growth with greenhouse gas emissions. During the period 1990-2015, EU’s combined gross domestic product grew by 50%, while total emissions declined by 22%.
And what about the renewable targets?
The renewable energy sector also seems to be on the right track, where according to data of 2014, the share corresponding to the same reached 16% of total gross consumption.
Miguel Arias Cañete, commissioner for Climate and Energy Action, said yesterday “despite the geopolitical uncertainties that afflict us, Europe is moving forward in its transition process towards clean energy. Renewable energies are already competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels, employ more than one million people in Europe, attract more investment than many other sectors, and have made it possible to reduce fossils fuel imports by EUR 16 billion. Europe must now maintain this effort, in collaboration with its partners, to lead the transition towards a more sustainable and competitive economy. “
The document “State of the Energy Union: Renewable Energy Progress Report 2016” states that the EU as a whole could reach its 20% target by 2020 and that progress has been faster in the electricity sector, while the largest absolute contribution continues to come from the heating and cooling sector. Progress in transportation has been slower so far, it states.