A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

Maroš Šefčovič Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Union

Visit of Maroš Šefčovič to the United States in May 2016. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Olivier Douliery.

This article was exclusively written for the European Sting by Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union.

The role of energy in our day-to-day lives is undoubtedly crucial for the functioning of any modern society. From powering homes, our vehicles, and our industries, energy is one of the most important commodities in the world and a well-functioning energy market is critical for our survival.

It is not the question, if Europe needs the Energy Union – the question is if Europe could go on without this profound transformation of its energy market. We are the world’s largest importer of energy, with 53% of energy being imported at a cost of around EUR 400 billion yearly. Some Member States are heavily reliant on a single importer country, while EU electricity prices are about 60-70% higher than those in the US.  At the same time Europe is the leader in renewable energy technologies, which will become even more pronounced as we move towards fulfilling our highly ambitious climate action goals.

Yet we simply cannot understand the role of energy in Europe by merely looking at various gas pipelines, electricity grids, and interconnectors. These are just hardware to how energy influences Europe – or a body that is nothing without our internal consciousness.  The software of energy is innovation – it is the driving force for changing how energy is used and perceived in Europe. It is innovation that will let our citizens start taking ownership of the energy transition and to reduce their energy bills, yet equally benefiting the industry by cut their costs through new energy efficient technologies.

I strongly believe that one of the greatest advantages we have in Europe is the tremendous diversity within the same single market. This brings together a wide range of traditions, working cultures, and approaches which are complementary and we can make the most out of them. I have visited a great number of centres of innovation, such as this year’s Hannover Messe, and the 2016 European Capital of Innovation, Amsterdam, and I had the opportunity to see how we are able to pool talents in places around Europe and let them act as lighthouses for innovation and smart cities not only across the EU, but also around the world.

Our leading position in energy innovation has allowed us to begin transforming our economy and societies in line with developing smart technology and energy usage. We are at the beginning of a new era with smarter and cleaner technologies in all areas of our economy and society. We are living through a paradigm shift which some call another “industrial revolution”, a radical transformation of the way we live, interact, produce, consume, do business, and commute.

This transformation offers us tremendous opportunities. Transition to a low carbon economy with renewables is at its forefront. Furthermore, this profound energy transition will not only affect what types of energy are used across Europe, but also make a drastic change in roles of various market actors. Transition towards a more decentralised system will be a game changer when it comes to the traditional roles of consumers and energy providers.

The Paris Agreement has given both the public and private sectors the important message that further decarbonisation of the global economy must occur, yet according to the International Energy Agency’s estimates the global energy consumption will rise by 30 percent by 2040. Fortunately, Europe has clearly shown that we have managed to successfully fight climate change while also growing our economy by more than 40 percent from 1990 to 2010, despite the ambitious emission cuts that have been achieved so far. These factors produce both a significant need and opportunity for investments that are compatible with decarbonisation. It is crucial that the business community capitalises on these trends by supporting innovation and sustainable investments. Such investments mean increased transparency of climate-related risks and better integration of sustainability in investment decisions, significantly benefiting the investors in making further future investments.

Some of the support for such new projects may also come from funds within the EU budget.  For instance, the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will allocate 45 billion EUR for support of low-carbon investments during the 2014-2020 programming period, in particular in projects promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable urban mobility. Additionally, the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), also known as the Juncker Fund, is helping finance infrastructure and innovation projects, as well as SMEs and mid-caps. EFSI mobilises 315 billion EUR for projects boosting investment, and sustainable energy is one of its strategic priorities. The EFSI Jun has already supported 64 projects and 185 SME agreements benefitting 141,800 start-ups, SMEs and mid-caps, triggering more than EUR 100 billion of investments.

However, mobilisation of private capital is an absolute key feature for the success of funding investments in innovative and sustainable development. It is crucial to have more public-private partnerships so that we can truly seize and make the most out of the business opportunity to benefit from the energy transition that is happening not only in Europe, but all over the world.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

European Business Summit 2014: The role of youth entrepreneurship education in EU’s Strategy for Competitiveness

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

No better year for the EU’s weak chain links

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Ukraine undecided over a strategic partnership with the EU

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

EU to negotiate an FTA with Japan

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

The ECB again takes care of the bankers not the people

Commission’s feeble response to financial benchmarks fraud

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

COP21 Breaking News_07 December: “Remove Roadblocks to Climate Action”

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

“C’est la vie”? French recession and unemployment to linger in Eurozone

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

MWC 2016 LIVE: Getty chief says one in four new images from phones

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

Austerity lovers and ‘relaxationists’ fight over the EU budget

Although Greece is struggling to pay salaries and pensions Varoufakis is “optimistic”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Why the merchant ships can pollute the atmosphere with CO2 quite freely

Do the EU policies on agro-food smell?

An EU Summit without purpose

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

Greece may offer to China a European gateway

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

A Sting Exclusive: why the environment is important to your health, by UNEP’s Head for Europe

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

“If they think they can slave an entire nation, then they will just have the opposite results!”, Alexis Tsipras cries out from the Greek parliament

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s