Preparing a future EU strategy on energy sector integration
The European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. As energy production and use account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. To date, Europe has made significant progress in decarbonising its electricity production. But progress has been slower in other sectors and for other forms of energy (gas, liquid fuels, heat), and fossil fuels remain predominantly used in transport, industry, buildings and agriculture.
In order to meet our climate objectives, while also guaranteeing secure and affordable energy for consumers, we need to better link up our energy system and exploit the synergies enabled by an integrated energy system.
First, there are opportunities to increase the use of (renewable and low-carbon) electricity via electrification of sectors that currently still rely on fossil fuels. Examples are the use of electric vehicles in transport, or of heat pumps for heating buildings.
Second, fossil-based gases and fuels can be replaced by renewable and decarbonised gases and fuels, especially in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as air transport or certain industrial processes. Hydrogen produced from renewable electricity will play a key role in this context, together with the replacement of natural gas by biomethane produced from agricultural wastes, achieving thus a progressive decarbonisation of the gas sector. Such a process will require supportive market rules.
Third, our energy sector can become more “circular” and make full use of the energy efficiency first principle. This is not only about reducing our consumption, but also about the overall efficiency of our energy system. An example is the use of industrial waste heat or waste heat from data centres to heat buildings, for instance through a district heating network.
Several barriers still prevent this potential from fully materialising and allowing citizens and industry to embrace cleaner energy alternatives. The objective of this initiative is to strengthen the necessary links across different sectors in our energy system, and to use every opportunity to reduce emissions. This integration of our energy system is necessary if we want to achieve a deep but also cost-effective decarbonisation of our economies. It will build a more decentralised and digital energy system, in which consumers are empowered to make their energy choices.
As announced in the Commission Work Programme for 2020, the Commission will present a strategy for smart sector integration for a future integrated European energy system by June 2020.
In preparation of this strategy, the Commission is seeking input from all stakeholders and EU citizens.
You can participate in various ways.
Online contributions: All stakeholders and citizens are invited to provide feedback on the ‘roadmap’ for the development of the strategy, through the Commission’s ‘Have Your Say’ website, which will be published in the coming days. This online option will run for 4 weeks.
Direct contributions: All stakeholders and citizens are also invited to send contributions directly via e-mail to ENER-SECTOR-INTEGRATION@ec.europa.eu by 15 May to contribute to the elaboration on the strategy. You may find it relevant to address the following questions to guide your contribution:
What would be the main features of a truly integrated energy system to enable a climate neutral future? Where do you see benefits or synergies? Where do you see the biggest energy efficiency and cost-efficiency potential through system integration?
What are the main barriers to energy system integration that would require to be addressed in your view?
How could electricity drive increased decarbonisation in other sectors? In which other sectors do you see a key role for electricity use? What role should electrification play in the integrated energy system?
What role should renewable gases play in the integrated energy system?
What measures should be taken to promote decarbonised gases?
What role should hydrogen play and how its development and deployment could be supported by the EU?
How could circular economy and the use of waste heat and other waste resources play a greater role in the integrated energy system? What concrete actions would you suggest to achieve this?
How can energy markets contribute to a more integrated energy system?
How can cost-efficient use and development of energy infrastructure and digitalisation enable an integration of the energy system?
Are there any best practices or concrete projects for an integrated energy system you would like to highlight?
What policy actions and legislative measures could the Commission take to foster an integration of the energy system?
Unfortunately, the consultation event foreseen for 3 April 2020 had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Please read through the privacy statement for this consultation regarding the collection and use of your personal data.
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