There will be two working groups, one focused on the theme resolution, the other looking at a gamut of short(ish) resolutions on everything from tax policy to the preservation of birds. For now though, I’ll stick to the theme resolution.
The resolution, “Energy Transition: a liberal perspective”, opens with a tour de horizon of the current energy scenario, taking in existing targets (reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20%, increasing the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix to 20%, and achieving the 20% energy efficiency target, all by 2020), and including references to security of supply, the risks of pollution and the importance of protecting jobs and economic growth.
The conclusion of the drafters is that a liberal energy policy should “prioritise market-based instruments” for the promotion of low-carbon energy sources in order to ensure that energy transition takes place in the most cost-efficient way and promote the liberalisation of energy markets to allow open access to infrastructure and unbundling of production and supply from transmission. So far, so economically liberal. But how?
Reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is called for, with aim of approving its efficiency and sending out clearer market signals, whilst an EU-wide carbon tax is suggested for sectors not covered by the Scheme. Revenues from European Emissions Trading System auctions should go towards the promotion of Carbon Capture and Storage to ensure that fossil fuels can be used – at least during a transition period – while keeping carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere in the future.
An energy supergrid, transporting solar energy from North Africa or the Middle East is called for, whilst phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and encouraging sustainable biomass production. More ambitious energy savings in the building sector are demanded, in particular regarding commercial buildings, as well as the setting of ambitious levels and targets for efficient energy use.
The resolution goes on to encourage private investment in energy infrastructure so as facilitate, among other things, cross-border electricity interconnections and trade in electricity between EU countries in order to help European countries meet demand at peak times, and seeks greater European coordination to remove regulatory barriers and to promote a convergence of standards in order to allow for such cross-border (as well as intra-regional and inter-regional) electricity transmission. It also calls for research into why in some parts of Europe excess cross-border transmission capacity is not fully used.
To read the entire document, click on the image below…
* Mark Valladares is a member of ALDE Party Council and takes up his role as a member of the International Relations Committee on 1 January 2015