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November 2012

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Eric Mamer's picture
EricMamer
Deputy Head of cabinet of Energy Commissioner Oettinger
Tue, 2012-10-09 08:44
09/10/2012 - 12:00

Hi everyone,
 
I'm delighted to be participating to this online forum and would like to thank WWF warmly for organising this.  It's the first time I do this, so I'm very curious to see how the discussion shapes up.
 
Getting right into the substance: what do we mean by "resilient" and "sustainable"?
 
To my mind, "resilient" means being able to deal with high stress levels, provoked by internal or external factors. We all have some idea of what those could be: disruptions in imports of key energy types such as oil or gas, but also, in a high-renewables future, perhaps of solar electricity imports; it could be a very high energy consumption peak, or even simply consistently higher than expected energy demand growth over a longer period of time. But it can also be something like a fragmentation of the internal energy market, meaning that individual Member States prefer national solutions to playing as a team to solve common problems.
 
"Sustainable" obviously refers first and foremost to the environmental impact of our energy production and consumption patterns, with decarbonisation being the key criteria. Let me just add that in my mind it also means economically sustainable. A system that is based on energy sources that cannot compete and are therefore dependent on permanent public support schemes will in the end not be sustainable.
 
So to me, a resilient and sustainable system is one that is:

  • as energy efficient as possible;
  • based on a variety of energy sources to better absorb shocks, with as little environmental impact as possible;
  • highly robust in terms of the underlying infrastructure and market rules;
  • economically rational, giving consumers of all types options corresponding to their needs.

The Roadmap sets out scenarios that deal with these issues. In all scenarios you see various sources of energy, the need for investment implying rising costs until 2030 and then a decrease, the need for energy savings, the rise of renewables, the interlinkage between centralised and decentralised energy production to cope with stress. So all in all the Roadmap describes multiple paths to a resilient and sustainable future, but with varying emphasis being put on the different key criteria. It is now up to all of us to decide what is the best road to choose !
 
Eric Mamer

Comments

jandersonwwf's picture
jandersonwwf

As the time for this debate draws to a close I'd like to thank all partcipants and viewers on behalf of WWF. Europe is in the early stages still of a major transition in the way it produces and consumes energy. But it's people's energy that really makes it happen! We look forward to your continued engagement.

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Thanks All.

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jankreutz's picture
jankreutz

Hello everyone. Like other participants I would like to thank WWF for initiating this interesting debate. I agree with much of what had been said by previous speakers: To have a chance to slow down climate change and eventually stop it, Europe’s economy must be completely decarbonised the latest by 2050. Already in 2010 the Party of European Socialists has consequently adopted a policy paper, committing our party to increase the share of renewable energy to 100% until 2050.
But especially in light of the crisis and austerity programmes enforced in most countries, we have to seriously ask where the investments for transforming our energy production and transportation system and refurbishing buildings will come from. The Commission road map does not deliver answers to this crucial question. Most Member States are not making fast enough progress on increasing energy efficiency and the share renewable energy. Transport emissions even increase, instead of being reduced. I would therefore ask other panellist, which European instruments could be introduced to speed up the process of transforming our economies? Is a revision of the ETS possible in the current political environment? Is there any willingness to increase the energy efficiency and renewable energy targets? We as PES believe that an important contribution must be an increase in public and private investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, which would not only contribute to a reduction of emissions, but also to more jobs and growth.
Another issue which is not properly addressed in the communication and which is often forgotten in the current debates: how can we ensure that the citizens support the transition and contribute to it? The current German example (increasing debates on the effects of the feed-in-tariff on energy prices) underlines that transforming our energy systems will become very difficult if citizens are not convinced that they benefit from it. We as PES believe that instruments must be implemented to ensure a just transition to renewable energies, ensuring that it is not the low income groups who have to pay the price, but that the costs and benefits are shared equally between the different groups in society and the economy. Amongst others, this requires larger investments to improve the energy efficiency of houses inhabited by low-income groups, adapting energy tariffs and providing education and training for workers to find new jobs in the green economy. What are the panellists views on ensuring a just transition?

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Eric Mamer's picture
Eric Mamer

Hello Jan,
You raise the key point of citizens' support that I was just about to raise myself in relation to one of Tom's posts on the Commission sticking to its guns when it comes to the long haul strategy of decarbonising our economy and, I would add, our society. It strikes me that the poorest in our society (just looking at the EU, but I'm sure the same applies elsewhere) are at the same time those most at risk because of climate change, and those at risk of being most penalised by the massive costs of investing in all the required new energy infrastructure if it is not done in such a way that the transition is.   We definitely need to ensure that Member States act upon their obligation to define the most vulnerable consumers and ways to adress the risks linked to increased prices, as well as the other "flanking measures" you mention.
 

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Hi Eric, Jan, I would very much agree on that point. Intelligent use of taxation and a focus on the 'polluter pays' principle will be vital if we are to ensure that the interests of our society and our economy coincide. Useful report on some of these issues from Vivid Economics: http://www.vivideconomics.com/index.php/publications/fiscal-consolidatio...
 

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Adam White's picture
Adam White

Welcoming Mr. Mamer's contribution, I think it is helpful to add some external perspective to the Energy Roadmap 2050.  While the Commission communication is an extremely important contribution to the literature and debate on how to decarbonise the EU's energy system, it is limited in a two important ways.  
Firstly, by presenting "a number of scenarios  to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhous gas emissions implying some 85% decline of energy-related CO2 emissions, including from transport" the Energy Roadmap is aiming at the bottom-end of the EU's overall target of 80-95% emissions reductions by 2050.  This limited ambition has been rightly criticised.  However, of equal, if not greater, concern is the fact that the Roadmap's decarbonisation scenarios are simply not able to deliver 95% emissions reductions, because it is impossble to sustainably scale-up some of its key emissions reductions options such as the use of biomass in transport (result of soon to be published WWF research).  In order for the Energy Roadmap to show the way to an energy system that is resilient to the potential need to deliver greater emissions reductions, it must include scenarios that keep the option of 95% CO2 cuts open.  The Commision should, therefore, consider new, more ambitious, scenarios that are capable of sustanably delivering the top end of the EU's emissions reductions targets - such as a pathway that combines the benefits of both greater energy savings and more renewable energy generation.  
Secondly,while the Roadmap presents different decarbonisation scenarios, it does so within a narrow range, without following the common scenario analysis practice of exploring a wide range of options in order to understand the maximum potential and resilience of the alternative paths available.  Instead, each Roadmap scenario can be considered as a variation on a central theme.  This weakness means that Roadmap gives very little insight into the relative difference in the resiliance and sustainability of the decarbonisation options it presents.  Without a broader examination of the options for energy sector decarbonisation, the Commission cannot inform Europe's peoples or politicians as to what are the most resiliant and sustainable options for cleaning our energy system.  
Do the pannelists agree that we will would have a much better understanding of whether the Roadmap will lead to a resilient and sustainable energy system if it were updated to include scenarios showing how to achieve 95% energy-related emissions reductions and to present scenarios that differ sufficiently that the relative merits of different options become much clearer?  
 

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Jan Nill's picture
Jan Nill

Adam, it is surely always of interest to have more scenarios, and stakeholders contributions in this regard are highly welcome. However, it is helpful to also put it into perspective.
1) As the Low carbon economy impact assessment sets out in detail (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/roadmap/documentation_en.htm), the EU 80% domestic emission reduction (which includes its share in international aviation), corresponds to what global economic models work out as the EU's share. Of course this is not the same as an 80 to 95% target, in which the EU also pays emission reductions abroad under fairness considerations. Hence, the scenarios are consistent also with a 95% target. And it also includes only currently available options, as well as behavioural options only if induced by carbon prices. For example Biomass with CCS, often present in global models, is not considered in the scenarios. So if neeeded higher reductions could be technically feasible.
2) Both 2050 roadmaps together have run around 20 EU scenarios and variants, which is quite a lot for a policy assessment exercise. For further discussion it would be helpful to be clearer which scenarios you miss, beyond the combined RES+EE on which I leave Eric to respond if he wishes so

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Arthur, to try and adress your very broad question, this is the time for believeing in our strategy and sticking to our guns. In an increasingly resource constrained world, it is the most efficient, sustainable, and climate resilient economies that will prevail. However, that means in the short-term that others can benefit from sticking to the old models while we are still pricing in climate change. We have to be convinced that the long-term game is the right one and it is. China and India are experiencing massive impacts from climate change right now and are changing poicies as a result. That will play out in our favour in time. The Harper administration's decision to bet 30% of the Canadian economy on tar sands has been accompanied by repression of civil society and international isolation. I think that gives a very clear picture of how sustainable that policy will prove. We need to hold our nerve as the EU and play the long game with the confidence befitting a major economic power.

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Hi Kornelis, that's a very fair point and I agree.

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Arthur Neslen's picture
Arthur Neslen

Some interesting comments about the importance of increased infrastructure spending, price shocks and reduced energy consumption for resilience. The EU's low carbon objectives also seem to be being knocked by ill trade winds - from China, the US and India over aviation in the ETS, from Canada over tar sands, the potential of a diastrous trade conflict with China over solar panels etc. These issues go beyond the energy roadmap's remit (narrowly defined), but as global competition intensifies along with the economic downturn and, arguably, an energy crunch, is this something that the EU can or should try to address holistically, and if so, how?

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Arthur, to try and adress your very broad question, this is the time for believeing in our strategy and sticking to our guns. In an increasingly resource constrained world, it is the most efficient, sustainable, and climate resilient economies that will prevail. However, that means in the short-term that others can benefit from sticking to the old models while we are still pricing in climate change. We have to be convinced that the long-term game is the right one and it is. China and India are experiencing massive impacts from climate change right now and are changing poicies as a result. That will play out in our favour in time. The Harper administration's decision to bet 30% of the Canadian economy on tar sands has been accompanied by repression of civil society and international isolation. I think that gives a very clear picture of how sustainable that policy will prove. We need to hold our nerve as the EU and play the long game with the confidence befitting a major economic power.

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Arthur Neslen's picture
Arthur Neslen

Tom, I agree with your point about the need for EU resolve but the issue is, as you say, that first movers on climate change do not always have a short term advantage. Sometimes they can be driven out of business before the long term arrives, and maybe that can lead to short-term actions which run counter to goals. With solar panels,  AFASE and others argue that the EU may wind up obstructing wider solar penetration and steps to grid parity, out of a desire to maintain first mover advantage. A similar case pursued in the US may have contributed to the issue's migration to wind power. Certainly there is an imperative to protect first movers, whatever business decisions they have taken, and hopefully the trade issue will not explode. But I can see a case for addressing this in broader terms than currently. 

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

I would certainly agree with your call for broader terms. However on the specific case of solar, its importnat to remember that PV technology is at least 25 years old and is solidly into the period of cost optimisation and mass production rather than innovation. I think suggesting we are protecting first movers by protecting solar panel production in teh EU is a little misleading. We need to protect innovators and drive economic and social benefit from technology adoption and installation. Where that technology is abundant, cheap and getting cheaper, attempting to compete in its manufacture is probably not a good use of our resources. Instead we should be focussed on the next breakthrough and getting our industry as efficient as possible as fast as possible. One of Europe's most effective exports is standards and regs because we are the worlds largest market. Lets use that ability to set the quality bar very high across the world and focus on the value add. Trade wars should be focussed where we have real value add or a qualitative difference in approach. Where the technology or product is completely generic, that doesn't seem the right way to go. As we are worried about jobs, a serious commitment to energy efficiency is the best job creation mechanism Europe could possibly wish for.
 

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Daniel Fraile's picture
Daniel Fraile

Hello to all,
While the results of the EC Roadmap 2050 are clear and 26 Member States have agreed to the 3 no-regret options approach, we don't see those same conclusions/visions reflected in other forums/platforms. Currently, Energy Miniters across Europe are discussing the EC's communication on renewable energy strategy, however most of them don't want to address the need to define post-2020 renewable energy targets. If it is so clear that renewables are the ones to bring down carbon emissions, create sustainable jobs and help Europe to recover from the economic crisis, why do we continue to see more goverments' bad practices on supporting those technologies (supports cuts, retroactive measures, etc.)? 
The European Commission should come up in the coming months with a strong and unified message about the need to ensure post-2020 binding targets for renewables,  toghether with strong CO2 targets (including those for 2030) and binding targets for Energy efficiency. Targets in these three areas are essential to come together, as a comprenhensive approach and coherent strategy. 
In the meantime we need to fix the ETS to provide a high carbon price. From January next year, Carbon allowances will have to be auctioned, and the revenues could represent an important financial source to support the implementation of energy efficiency measures in the building sector (creating thousands of local jobs and growth in such an affected sector) as well as to bring further down the cost of existing and emerging renewable energies technologies.
One last comment about the EC's Energy Roadmap. If it concludes that energy efficiency and renewables are key elements of the energy sector decarbonization, I wonder why there is not yet a decarbonization scenario which combine both elements. Would not that scenario show even better results in terms of cost competitiveness and energy independency?
 

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jonathan.gaventa's picture
jonathan.gaventa

Good morning everyone and thanks to WWF for setting up this important debate.
It's good to see the emphasis placed on resilience in the debate so far.  The Roadmaps show that there are a number of technically and economically viable pathways out to 2050.  But unexpected changes and shocks will inevitably continue to happen; some policies will fail, while other new options will materialise.  The point of risk management is not to choose a single 'least cost' pathway on the basis of the Roadmaps, but to ensure multiple promising options remain on the table.  
However risk management also means making choices.  Infrastructure, efficiency and renewables may all be 'no regrets' options in the general sense, but decisions still need to be made on what infrastructure to build (particularly as it often takes much longer to deveop a transmission line than a power station or wind turbine), how efficiency should be funded and delivered and the type and level of renewables to be supported - far enough in advance for supply chains and business models to be developed.
My question for Mr Mamer and the panellists: in light of the roadmaps, do we need longer term infrastructure plans to be developed, to give enough forward certainty both to grid developers and to generation companies, to enable them to invest with confidence?  And if so, which pathway sould these infrastructure plans be based on?

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Fiona Hall's picture
Fiona Hall

Yes, without doubt we need to have a long-term approach for our energy infrastructure development. What is particularly important is for that approach to be as comprehensive as possible and take due account of both supply and demand side. So while we will undoubtedly need to modernise our electricity infrastructure to integrate a substantially higher share of renewables, we also need to take into account potential savings that energy efficiency measures will bring on the future energy demand in Europe. If we consider all the potential changes to supply and demand, we may conclude we need less or different infrastructure than previously thought. For example, fewer gas pipelines and more HVDC interconnectors between different countires.
An ambitious long-term target for renewables can also contribute to spurring investments into infrastructure, as investors will know that longer term more renewables will have to be connected to the grid.

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Eric Mamer's picture
Eric Mamer

Hi Jonathan,
Developing coherent infrastructure across Europe is certainly key, in view of the life span of energy infrastructures. The Commission is playing its part, by pushing for the definition of lists of priority interconnections that need to be developed over the coming years with EU support through the Connecting Europe Facility. But providing investment certainty has other dimensions over and above infrastructure planning. For example, the Commisison will certainly monitor what Member States are planning when it comes to setting up so called "capacity marke" mechanisms that may well have a major impact on the sort of infrastructure built. The same applies to the evolution of the national regulatory framework for promoting renewables.  It is all of these factors together that provide the investment security. and getting them all right is quite a challenge... 
 
 

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Matthias Dürr's picture
Matthias Dürr

Jonathan,You are absolutely right. Infrastrucrue is of utmost importance to ensure security of supply and decarbonisation. Without a stable and long term oriented framework it is very difficult for investors or companies to invest. The EU’s Ten Years Development Plan is agood step in to the right direction. However, public acceptance, especially for infrastructure projects, is becoming more and more important. Just think of CCS in a larger scale.

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Hi Eric, and everyone joining the forum.
First let me again congratulate the European Commission, and DG ENER in particular, for their work that lead to the EC Energy 2050 Roadmap communication. We at ECF know from experience that this is not an easy exercise and that the effort of modelling and explaining the results cannot be underestimated.
I would like to pick you up on a few key points in your definitions of “resilient” and “sustainable” and also challenge your view on the outcome and role of the Commission’s Roadmap.
Firstly on “Resilient”:
The key to a resilient energy system is ensuring that we have a portfolio of generation that is capable of delivering the power Europe needs in any of the many millions of scenarios that could play out in terms of demand and supply in any given year. We are most resilient working as the EU on power.
But the system does not just need to be resilient in terms of response to supply or demand shocks, it needs to be resilient to price shocks. Technically the decarbonisation of the EU power system is complex, and requires a large amount of upfront capital investments, but it is certainly manageable as both your and the ECF’s 2050 Roadmap studies show (www.roadmap2050.eu). But fossil-fuel price shocks are a massive threat to our economies that is only set to increase. When talking about resilience of energy systems this issue of economic exposure to fossil-fuel prices needs to be addressed. Jeff Rubin recently on Bloomberg formulated it as such:“The countries guzzling the most oil are taking the biggest hits to potential economic growth”. Resilience of our economies to increasing imported oil and gas prices (still linked to oil prices for the time being) should in fact be at the top of EU’s growth and competitiveness agenda.
On “Sustainable”: The point above also applies here to your concept of ‘economically sustainable’. Besides, and as you know, we have now surpassed 390 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and are set to pass 450 ppm by 2030 on current trajectories. Global output of CO2 needs to peak and begin to fall dramatically before 2020 if we are to achieve the EU’s stated goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, analogous with a maximum of 450 ppm. Hence, a sustainable energy system, also from an economic point of view, requires the complete decarbonisation of the European power system before 2050. Climate change is already costing 1.6% of global GDP. That is over $1 trillion a year, far more than the costs of decarbonisation in any scenario.
Therefore the best route is one that leads to full decarbonisation and addresses the bulk of emissions in the shortest reasonable term possible. And this is exactly where the Commission’s Roadmap exercise is critical information to the policy debate. More than ‘choosing the best road’, it is far more relevant to look at the commonalities that occur from the different scenario runs. Hence, what the EC has called the ‘no-regrets options’ are in our view the main outcomes of your work with direct relevance for policy making on EU and MS level in the coming years. We are pleased to see that the EC has taken these no-regrets options seriously and that the Council (EU-26 ;-)) has provided backing for these outcomes. It is however key to constantly remind ourselves of these no-regrets option.

  1. More electricity: we should therefore incentivise eMobility (via fuel efficiency measures like 95gr/km, and electrical heating in buildings
  2. More renewables: we need a clear framework for renewables post-2020. It is obvious that an ETS alone approach will not deliver, unless we believe that our Industry and our consumers will accept a carbon price of over 100 EUR.
  3. More efficiency and allowing demand side resources to compete with new generation. This is in conflict with the ‘capacity payments’ approach that some Member States have proposed
  4. More and smarter infrastructure: this makes the newly proposed Connecting Europe Facility a must.

Interestingly, fossil fuels are not amongst the no-regrets options. Coal use in Europe should be reduced as fast as possible. The coal Industry has proven not to be interested in taking pollution control seriously and have failed to invest credibly in CCS. Hence, the development of CCS should shift towards Industry and gas installations. However, gas is not a no-regrets option either. As your roadmap as well as ours indicate, gas has a role to play in the power sector as flexible back-up in support of RES, but it needs careful managing and can easily become a ‘regret’. If the role of gas is expanding into a bridging fuel from coal/nuclear to RES or even a destination fuel, this will conflict with our climate budget and our energy security and economic resilience objectives.
We need the cost of fossil fuels to truly reflect their impact. At impact cost of $1 trillion a year, considering the world produces roughly 30 million tons of CO2 per year, the carbon price should currently be around $33,000 a ton. Assuming that won’t happen any time soon, we need to put the upfront investment cost in early stage renewable technologies, efficiency measures and smart infrastructure in context and understand that this is a relatively low cost project in comparison to the alternative future we are currently set to face.

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Eric Mamer's picture
Eric Mamer

hi Tom,
Regarding your very last sentence, I think the Commission/EU is doing a lot on the different priorities you mention, and I don't need to come back on the details. But let me stress the international dimension here. Earlier in your intevention, you mention the need for global emissions to fall, and this is what gives me a headache, because Europe's own emissions will represent an ever smaller percentage of these global emissions. We can set an example for the rest of the world, but is that going to be enough... and seeing the reactions to the introduction of the aviation sector to the ETS scheme, there are grounds to be worried. 
 

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Tom Brookes's picture
Tom Brookes

Hi Eric, I fully agree. Firstly that the Commission in working hard and also that there are clear grounds to be worried, but as I said to Arthur, we need to look at this in a broader context. Resource constraints will be the defining factor of economic growth in the coming decades. From atmospheric space to rare earths to fertile land and water, we are seeing the diminution of all the resources that our economic model has taken for granted as infinite. In that future, the most efficient, resilient economies will be those that design for re-use, innovate in efficiency and get first mover advantage on the technologies that will deliver the only  effectively infinite resources available to us: sunlight, wind and waves. The real international perspective is the knowledge that China is closing down inefficient factories, the US states and EPA are regulating emissions and environmental impacts, and across teh world we are seeing the regulatory bar rising on dirty energy and dirty, inefficient industry. The response on the ETS is classic trade politics and the Commission is smart and strong enough to know that there is a negotiation to be had here and a solution can be found, but we need to stand-up for the principle that every kilo of CO2 needs to be paid for somewhere. We don't mond if its here or there, but there can be no such thing as free polluting in a finite atmosphere. The EU and the world has supported the concept of a carbon price as a vital economic signal for emissions reduction. If its the role of the EU to hold that position to account, so be it.

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Jan Nill's picture
Jan Nill

I would like to add on two points raised in the debate
1) Global emission trends are indeed worrying. However, one should keep in mind that the role of the EU goes well beyond setting an example (e.g pioneering and incentivising global carbon markets via ETS linkings (e.g. Australia), international credits and the inclusion of aviation into the ETS), and that there is nevertheless a significant amount of action ongoing also in other countries (e.g. China, South Korea, Australia setting up emissions trading systems, many countries investing heavily in renewables, Brazil and Mexico climate strategies etc)
2) I fully agree to the argument raised on resilience to fossil fuel price shocks. Here there was a distribution of work within the Commission: While the Energy Roadmap focused on different energy futures in a world of global action, the Low carbon economy roadmap (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/roadmap/index_en.htm, also surveying the status of action of other countries) also looked into fragmented action scenarios, including the impact of fossil fuel price shocks, which show the importance of this resilence.
 

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Kornelis Blok's picture
Kornelis Blok

Hi Tom,
Very important to bring resilience to price shocks into the debate. You rightly not that increasing energy demand is an important cause of energy price shocks. Reducing energy demand by increased energy efficiency is an important way of increasing our resilience in this area.
You state that "the key to a resilient energy system is ensuring that we have a portfolio of generation that is capable of delivering the power ...". I find this to narrow. The debate on resilience is too much supply oriented. How do we guarantee the last 1% of supply come in? But it probably is much more effective and cheaper to just make our energy demand less vulnerable, e.g. reducing impact of loss of energy, by having back-ups of all sorts available, avoid equipment that is dependent on multiple inputs, etc.
Regards, Kornelis
 

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Arthur Neslen's picture
Arthur Neslen

A hello to the panelists and sorry for the slight technical delay at my side. I’d like to thank everyone for their opening statements. EU targets are seen by many as a bellweather of sustainability – just yesterday, Ed Davey the UK energy and climate change minister called again for an EU-wide 30% emissions reduction goal by 2020. There may not yet be a critical mass for this vision, but there is a consensus that milestones are needed to achieve the 2050 goals. When he announced the energy roadmap for 2050, the commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, called for a decision within two years on new targets for 2030. What sort of path, timeframe and milestones do the panellists believe are needed to achieve the roadmap’s decarbonisation goals?

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Fiona Hall's picture
Fiona Hall

Our path and milestones must be as ambitious as possible given the urgency of climate change and our energy security and economic challenges. We cannot afford to waste any time, or waste money on fossil fuel imports. As a first step, we should adopt an ambitious 2030 package with binding targets for energy efficiency, renewables and carbon reductions based on the most cost-effective path to full decarbonisation in 2050. For renewables, a target most people in the renewables industry agree is achievable would be 45% by 2030. For carbon reductions, we should follow the Commission Low-Carbon Roadmap and adopt a target of at least 40% by 2030.

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Matthias Dürr's picture
Matthias Dürr

 
We clearly see and support the EU’s leading role in climate protection and we are committed to reaching the long term goal as set up in the energy roadmap 2050. For us as  a company it is critically important that there is a stable and reliable framework. We do need consistent European roadmaps and policy instruments. Climate protection needs to be aligned with energy policy and vice versa. Do you share our view that a more harmonised approach and use of the instruments (ETS, renewables support schemes, energy efficiency at national or EU level ) would contribute to better achieving the objective of decarbonisation?

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Fiona Hall's picture
Fiona Hall

We must remember that most renewable technologies are still very new and tent to need more tailored local support to develop on a larger scale. If we were to harmonise Europe's support schemes for renewables immediately, we would incentivise generation where it is cheapest at the moment. This would mean all of Europe's wind produced in the UK and Ireland, and most of Europe's solar in Greece. However, renewables bring many local benefits such as energy security, new jobs and business opportunities. So it does not make wider economic or political sense to rush moves to harmonisation. The Single Market will undoubtedly lead to some harmonisation over time, but for the moment it is simply to early to harmonise our policies when it comes to these new technologies.

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Fiona Hall's picture
Fiona Hall

There are two particularly important conclusions to draw from the Commission Energy 2050 Roadmap. The first one is that an almost complete decarbonisation of our energy system can be achieved at the same cost as business as usual. The second is that there are three "no regrets" options common to all five decarbonisation scenarios - a substantially higher share of renewables, increased energy efficiency and savings and more flexible and smarter energy infrastructure.
 
While we cannot write off any potential decarbonisation pathway completely, we do need to concentrate on these three "no regrets" options to ensure we achieve our decarbonisation in the most cost-efficient way.
 
In particular, with no new nuclear yet built and not even any plans for CCS on a commercial scale, renewables are the only technology that is currently delivering real CO2 reductions in Europe . We should therefore make sure that the EU renewables industry has the confidence to grow, thereby creating European jobs. We therefore must agree a 2030 EU target for renewables without delay as the main follow-up to the Energy 2050 Roadmap.  This will build on the success of the current 2020 target and give investors the long-term certainty they need to make this sector competitive.

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Kornelis Blok's picture
Kornelis Blok

I agree that renewable energy should play a central role in any low-carbon vision. But the role of enhanced energy efficiency is of equal importance. The big challenge for European energy policy making is to reach similar ambition levels on energy efficiency and develop concrete policies to achieve such levels. There are important building blocks, like the Ecodesign directive, the EPBD and the Energy Efficiency Directive, but these are not yet exploited to the full potential.

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Matthias Dürr's picture
Matthias Dürr

Dear All,
 
Like Eric I am pleased to join my first online forum and looking towards an interesting exchange of views. Representing RWE in Brussels these days means taking part in the transformation of one of the most important industry sectors: Energy!
 
The challenge is to guarantee security of supply whilst preparing ourselves for a carbon neutral electricity production by 2050.
In that respect we welcome the energy roadmap 2050: It clearly provides guidance on how to reach this target. I would like to begin with a set of parameters that are in our views indispensable to meet the objectives in the roadmap:

  • The internal energy market as the main frame for the road to 2050
    Eric is right in emphasizing that an internal energy market should set the frame for the shaping of the sector. More market will lead to an optimal use of the existing infrastructure (power plants and grid) and help to cope with high energy consumption peaks.
  • Renewable energy sources will have to be integrated in this energy market.
    The bigger their market share, the bigger the need for an adaptation to market conditions.
  • Grid infrastructure will play a pivotal role and must therefore be enhanced.
    This regards the TSOs as well as the DSOs (integration of PV into local grid),      
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