State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The Commission adopted today the 2020 State of the Energy Union Report and its accompanying documents focused on different aspects of EU energy policy. This year’s Report is the first one since the adoption of the European Green Deal, and looks at the Energy Union’s contribution to Europe’s long-term climate goals.

Individual assessments of the 27 National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) analyse the pathway and ambition of each Member State towards the current 2030 climate and energy targets. The overall assessment shows that the Member States are capable of meeting these targets and are mostly making good progress towards them. The Reports underline the contribution the energy sector can make to the EU’s recovery from the economic crisis created by COVID-19. The Energy Union has so far proven to be robust in the face of the challenges placed on our energy systems and energy workers by the pandemic.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “The energy sector plays a crucial role in cutting emissions and delivering the European Green Deal. Today’s State of the Energy Union Report shows the progress we are making as well as challenges and opportunities ahead. The investments and reforms we put in place need to drive the green recovery and put us on the right track for becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “The National Energy and Climate Plans are an essential tool for our work with Member States to plan the policies and investments for a green and just transition. Now is the time to turn these plans into reality and use them to lead us out of the Covid-19 crisis with new jobs and a more competitive Energy Union.”

The Report looks at the five different dimensions of the Energy Union – decarbonisation including renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy security, the internal energy market; and research, innovation and competitiveness. The Report provides guidance on the swift implementation of the NECPs and on how energy-related investment and reforms can boost the EU’s economic recovery. It highlights how the NextGenerationEU recovery plan can support Member States through a number of flagship funding programmes.  

This year’s State of the Energy Union Report is for the first time accompanied by an analysis of energy subsidies, which identifies a clear need for better data on energy subsidies and greater efforts to reduce those which support fossil fuel production and consumption. A clean energy competitiveness report is also published today, showing that EU industry has been successful in grasping the opportunities of the clean energy transition. The sector is outperforming conventional energy technologies in terms of value added, labour productivity and employment growth. The Commission also adopted progress reports on the internal energy market, energy prices and costs, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Background

Assessment of the 27 different National Energy & Climate Plans (NECPs): After the publication of the EU-level assessment of the NECPs in September, the Commission has today published an individual assessment of each national NECP including recommendations for each Member State’s potential use of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Annex on Energy Subsidies: In this first overview of Member States’ energy subsidies, the Commission notes many NECPs fail to provide a full picture or a concrete timeline and steps to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, which amount to €50 billion annually.

Annex on the Internal Energy Market: This annex provides an update on the internal market for electricity and gas, concluding that there has been good progress, while more work is needed to fully integrate the markets.

Clean energy competitiveness report: The main focus of this Report is on six key clean energy technologies for the EU to meet its 2030 and 2050 objectives – solar photovoltaics; offshore wind; ocean energy; renewable hydrogen; batteries and smart grids.

Energy Prices and Costs report: This Report gives an extensive look at energy prices and cost trends in Europe and internationally, highlighting that households’ energy expenditure shares have been falling for all income levels since 2012.

Progress report on energy efficiency: The Report covers progress on the long-term energy efficiency target. While preliminary analysis shows that COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on energy demand, Member States will have to intensify their efforts to maintain a positive trend.

Progress report on renewables:  The Report highlights that the share of renewable energy in the EU27 energy mix reached 18.9 % and that the EU is projected to exceed its renewable energy targets for 2020.

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