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.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This psychologist is using science and data to beat racism

MEPs call for free movement across borders to be swiftly and fully re-established

Mental health and suicide: from the 19th century to present

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

Why diversity needs your star power, as well as sponsors

The EU approves a new package of budget assistance to the Republic of Moldova to support rule of law and rural development reforms

Making Artificial Intelligence ethical, safe and innovative

Economic Outlook: Weak trade and investment threaten long-term growth

This is what countries are doing to fight plastic waste

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

UN highlights importance of skills development on World Youth Skills Day

Brexit: With May gone the Tory divide is to sink the UK despite Brits wanting to ‘Remain’

Space science now a ‘fundamental pillar’ of 21st century human development: top UN space official

Which countries have the highest unemployment rates?

‘Action and tangible progress’ needed to finally ‘win the peace’ for Syrians: UN envoy

UN chief urges emergency fund support as one of the ‘most effective investments’ in humanitarian action

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Trade preferences boost developing countries’ exports to the European Union

This alliance aims to accelerate the adoption of inclusive, trusted and transparent AI worldwide

Commission welcomes confirmation of provisional agreement to strengthen collective redress in the EU

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Electronic cigarette: a still controversial qualitative imbalance

Fairness should be at the heart of the agricultural goods trade

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after Libya detention centre airstrikes: Security Council condemns attack

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

Ride-hailing apps are making the developing world’s traffic problems worse

Commission makes it easier for citizens to access health data securely across borders

How video games can reunite a divided world

What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020

Fostering intergenerational solidarity and cooperation through age-friendly environments: the right answer to Europe’s demographic challenge

Here are 5 security challenges Nigeria’s leader must tackle

Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Rule of law: MEPs travel to Malta to meet with government, NGOs and journalists

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Women boost work profits, saving biodiversity, UK loses Chagos Islands vote, Gaza funding, malaria-free in Argentina, Algeria

New Consumer Agenda: European Commission to empower consumers to become the driver of transition

Despite lagging in the Global Goals, Africa can meet the 2030 deadline: Rwandan President

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

MEPs spell out their priorities for the Digital Services Act

Deadly swine fever threatens Asia, UN agriculture agency warns, urging regional collaboration

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

COP24 negotiations: Why reaching agreement on climate action is so complex

International trade statistics: trends in first quarter 2019

Northern Bahamas ravaged by ‘disaster of epic proportions’ as UN releases $1 million in emergency funds

UN food aid to Yemen will fully resume after two-month break, as Houthis ‘guarantee’ delivery

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

EU invests in green projects and bans single-use plastics while climate change requires more to be done

Here are six bold ideas to accelerate sustainable energy innovation

Will Europe be able to deal with the migration crisis alone if Turkey quits the pact?

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

First EU collective redress mechanism to protect consumers

Eurozone 2013: Where to?

Schools in Florida now have to teach mental and emotional health

5 reasons why biodiversity matters – to human health, the economy and your wellbeing

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

More Stings?

Advertising

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s