OPP Meeting Summary: Energy Council – National Energy and Climate Plans (24 September 2019)

A summary of the policy debate on National Energy and Climate Plans is available.

Energy Council – 24 September 2019
National energy and climate plans
Exchange of views on the Communication on the draft national energy and climate plans, “United in delivering the Energy Union and climate action”
11859/19
10251/19


Finnish Presidency

  • the Commission had previously in June presented briefly on the draft national energy and climate plans;
  • two questions were included in 11859/19;
  • What is Member States’ (MS) progress in addressing ambition gaps that have been identified in their draft national plans in the areas of
    • a) energy efficiency, and b) renewable energy?
  • As the governance mechanism provided by the Governance Regulation is a novel process, what should be the modalities of the Council’s role in this important process to achieve collectively the EU’s energy and climate targets for 2030: a) before the delivery of the final NECP’s, and b) after the delivery of the final NECP’s.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union

  • it was symbolic that they were discussing collective ambition whilst climate talks were ongoing in New York;
  • the NECP’s were innovative and would help ensure investment in the sector;
  • the greater the clarity the better for private and institutional investors such as the ECB;
  • he called on them to “fill the gaps” as “they were not there yet“;
  • the gap as regards renewables was 1.6% collectively. He believed some MS had signalled they could do more;
  • the bigger challenge would be with regard to energy efficiency with a 6.2% gap. This was significant;
  • he highlighted that courageous political decisions were required and underlined the Commission’s commitment in working with MS. He also underlined the role of financial backing from instruments such as the ETS and stressed the first 100 days of the new Commission in outlining their climate ambitions as regards 2050.

The Netherlands

  • they welcomed the Commission analysis as it had been “very clear” as they were not on track and would need to do more before 2030;
  • the Netherlands had an agreement (The Dutch Climate Agreement) in place prior to the summer – “it was a hell of a job and it took a year of my life“;
  • they had learned 3 lessons during this time;
    1. it was not purely a political agreement as they had included stakeholders and civil society. Sectors such as housing, mobility, agriculture, land-use, and electricity, had all been involved;. Coherent policy measures had seemed from these discussions;
    2. they defined one goal – CO2 reduction. 49% by 2030;
    3. they nominated an independent regulator as they wanted the agreement to be based on facts not opinions to avoid political controversy;
  • the Netherlands underlined the need for a cost-effective strategy that could garner public support;
  • they called for increased ambition as regards the ETS and “stood ready to contribute.”

Ireland

  • Ireland had submitted plans in 2018 based on their 2040 strategy and 10 year capital expenditure programme. However since then they acknowledged that further effort would be required. An all of government climate action plan had been published on 17th June 2019. The plan significant increased Ireland’s climate and energy ambitions;
  • the final projections that would be set out in their final NECP would fully reflect this increased ambition;
  • they looked forward to the development of the process beyond the December deadline.

Luxembourg

  • they believed it was a “wonderful piece of legislation and all this that had worked on it should congratulated“;
  • it was wonderful as it forced them to integrate all energy sectors;
  • Luxembourg were still finalising the plan due to recent elections. They had a 50%-55% reduction corridor which along with Sweden was the most ambitious;
  • Luxembourg was growing in population size faster than Mexico so they needed to be energy efficient. Their target was 40-44% in energy efficiency;
  • every new building in Luxembourg would not use fossil fuels;
  • regarding building renovation they were not where they should be. This was due to the business plan. He believed the Netherlands had a good model. He called on the Commission for a Renovate Europe programme that shared expertise. Financing would also be crucial;
  • regarding industrial efficiency which made up 50% of electricity consumption, Luxembourg were meeting with the ECB to trigger third-party investments;
  • regarding new data centres they needed to use best practice and follow ecodesign rules. Data centres could set climate plans “off-track” he cautioned. He stressed that data centres in Europe had the ability to be more efficient;
  • solar and wind power would be crucial;
  • they called for joint tenders so that land-locked countries could exploit wind energy and would include this in their national plan;
  • regarding electromobility, 60% of their energy usage was from transport. Norway, Netherlands and Portugal were frontrunners in electromobility and they would aim to emulate these countries. He called for energy and transport ministers to work together much more;
  • he raised concerns that charging points would not be ready to meet demand of electric vehicles.

Germany

  • Germany welcomed the Commission’s work and the Presidency scheduling the EoV;
  • MS needed to ensure the targets of the clean energy package were met;
  • in Germany they were continuing to work on their plans;
  • on 20th September 2019 Germany adopted a climate protection programme up until 2030 and would need to be both approved by cabinet and the parliamentary procedure. It was made up of 4 pillars;
    • promotion programmes to reduce CO2 emissions;
    • carbon pricing and to avoid CO2 emissions. Additional revenue would be reinvested in climate protection;
    • to reduce the burden on citizens;
    • mandatory measures to come into force by 2030 at the latest;
  • the correct investment incentives would need to be created and Germany called on both the Commission and the Council to play a role both before and after the submission of the final plans;
  • Germany underlined the crucial nature of regional cooperation between MS;
  • Germany stressed the need for the effective financing of renewable energy.

Spain

  • more and more countries around the globe were declaring the climate emergency at that moment in time, which they considered an ideal moment to be ambitious and to meet the EU climate targets;
  • Spain was pleased with the outcome of their draft NECP and notified the rest of MS that they were currently working on a detailed update in order to comply with the recommendations that the Commission made, which would be presented in the coming days, jointly with the results of the environmental assessment that Spain had conducted;
  • they noted the numerous upgrades to their plan which were only possible thanks to the engagement by Spanish citizens;
  • the revised plan maintained the ambition of the level of emissions, on renewable sources of energy and on energy efficiency and reinforced the ambition as regards to energy security, the internal energy market and research and innovation;
  • Spain stated their commitment to the transition to a climate neutral economy both due to their conviction about the gravity of the climate emergency and to their certainty of the great economic potential that the energetic transition could bring to the economy of Spain;
  • as relevant parts of their plan, Spain highlighted the ongoing phase-out of coal, the increase of renewables, the increase of electrification and energy efficiency;
  • Spain suggested an amendment to article 7 of the Renewable Energy Directive that would allow to factor-in energy self-consumption as an upgrade of energy efficiency;
  • Spain reminded the MS who needed to revise their contributions to be aware of the need to be responsible with such a sensitive matter as the internal and internal credibility of MS was at stake;
  • they hoped for the Council to play an active role, without leaving it up to the Commission to be responsible to amend, with EU level measures, the lack of progress or ambition;
  • Spain considered really important that the MS that are making the most efforts in meeting the target would be recognised and prioritised in the criteria for the EU financial distribution mechanisms;
  • they also hoped for the Council to monitor this process and supervise the evolution of each MS ‘more than once a year’ and encouraged the Council and its working group to closely look into the existing gaps in renewables and energy efficiency and the possibility of implementing measures to fix this;
  • MS that were not meeting the targets in their plans should present their ideas to amend these gaps;
  • in their view, the MFF should act as a framework for generating incentives and disincentives that would prevent the possibility of any MS to disregard the common efforts being made and reward the MS that were doing the necessary in their aim to meet the climate targets.

Portugal

  • Portugal congratulated the Presidency on the agenda point which was crucial;
  • Portugal underlined the need for the EU to show climate leadership in light of the UN talks;
  • carbon neutrality by 2050 would be key and this meant a reduction of between 80-90%. Clear action from the energy sector would be required;
  • in Portugal’s plan the energy sector would need to be the key driver and Portugal had a target of 47% for renewable energy by 2030. This was a higher level of ambition compared to EU legislation;
  • Portugal highlighted the 1150 MW solar auction that set a new world-record, lowest-cost solar PV contract in Portugal’s first solar PV auction, with an awarded tariff of only €14.76/MWh;
  • financing along with the areas of R&D needed to be strengthened;
  • this was the time to invest and offer a clear signal to investors;
  • Portugal called for further debates prior to submitting final plans. They agreed with France regarding taxation and creating a level-playing field.

Slovenia

  • Slovenia mentioned that it started in 2019 a wide-ranging process of the preparation of the NECP that included a complete overall of expert opinions and assessments, a wide-ranging experts and public debate and a global environmental impact assessment;
  • Slovenia also studied the possibility to increase its national contributions to EU targets as it acknowledged its responsibility towards future generations;
  • the Slovenian expert community recommended the country to increase its national contribution with regard to the efficient use of energy to at least 32.5%
  • the improvement of energy and material efficiency in all sectors had been defined by Slovenia as one of the essential measures towards a low-carbon society;
  • on the reduction of GHG emissions, Slovenia stressed that it had the potential to set more ambitious national targets;
  • on the contrary, Slovenian experts said that it would be more complicated with regard the use of renewables;
  • indeed, Slovenia outlined that the 27% contribution was very ambitious in all areas with the exception of promoting off shored wind energy;
  • Slovenia underlined that it had faced national circumstances with regard renewables and that the EC overlooked this situation;
  • Slovenia stressed that on its national contribution to renewables, it conducted a wide-ranging expert and public discussion;
  • Slovenia believed that it would be able to increase its national contribution in its final Plan;
  • Slovenia thanked Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia for their constructive cooperation and the regional consultation which took place in Slovenia;
  • Slovenia also thanked the EC for its technical aid;
  • on the Council role, Slovenia advocated that it should take note of the progress made in final Plans and the increased ambitions;
  • after the adoption of the final Plans the Council should annually take note of the implementation of energy and climate policies taking into account the goals set in line with the European Semester;
  • in addition; Slovenia outlined that the Council should deal with the progress made on all 5 dimensions of the Energy Union;
  • finally, Slovenia pointed out that the 2030 measures were inextricably linked with the rules on financing, especially those on state aid.
  • according to Slovenia, the final Plans with all the measures should be submitted by MS by the end of the year even though MS would not know what the state aid rules would be;
  • therefore, the new state aid rules on energy and environmental protection should enable MS to promote investments that would ensure that all MS would reach its common goals.

Czechia

  • Czechia stressed that the EC had done a great job by working with MS, especially on energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Czechia outlined that it had been identified as a good example in the areas of research & innovation, renewable energy sources and energy poverty;
  • Czechia mentioned that it was finalising a discussion on reaching its annual energy efficiency targets;
  • in this context, financial resources needed would be significant, as an example, reaching the 2030 targets on renewables and energy efficiency would cost more than 120 billion euros;
  • on renewables in the heating and cooling sectors, Czechia stated that it was already reaching its maximum level of technical feasibility which would lead to the increase of the biomass consumption which was negatively assessed in the recommendation;
  • Czechia was studying the potential to increase its renewable share through further decreasing its final energy consumption which could bring lower costs;
  • Czechia stressed that it had prepared pathways to achieve more ambitious targets but that would implied sufficient funds;
  • Czechia mentioned that at national level, political discussion was still ongoing;
  • however, it stressed that the country was on track to achieve the 2020 targets, and that cost effectiveness should be kept in mind regarding Czechia activities and affordability of the transition;
  • on the role of the Council and the following processes, Czechia stated that the Council should be informed about the final assessment of the Plans and about the subsequent process of closing the possible ambition gap.

Belgium

  • Belgium recalled that it is currently renewing its government following elections and that it waited for the third regional government and the federal government to be formed;
  • therefore, this situation prevented Belgium to take concrete actions for the next few weeks regarding the EC comments on its NECP;
  • however, Belgium stressed that it analysed comments of the EC and outlined that it would contribute to EU’s commitments goals under the Paris Agreement;
  • Belgium mentioned that it organised regional consultations on the 4th of September and stakeholder consultations on the 13th of September;
  • public consultations were also held with more than 60.000 feedbacks gathered;
  • Belgium also mentioned that it was relevant to have an exchange with other EU countries in order to know how they tried to resolve their problems linked to energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Belgium recalled that these matters were in the hands of different level of authorities in Belgium;
  • on financial resources, Belgium expressed its will to have an interpretation of the Commission decision on the financial mechanism and the Article 7 in relation to energy efficiency;
  • Belgium outlined that it was still looking in to possible funding sources at EU level and from other European funds and other sources with regard to their cooperation with other countries;
  • Belgium underlined that efforts should be made on ambitious and concrete measures between now and 2030 regarding renewable energy;
  • Belgium stated it was waiting for its different governments to be constituted in order to have a general overview of the efforts each level of government would want to make;
  • Belgium pointed out that it would be useful if the EC gave regular updates on how far the EU progressed regarding the achievement of its goals;
  • Belgium expressed its will to see existing bodies continued their work after the submission of NECPs such as the Climate and Energy Working Group and the Energy Committee;
  • Belgium concluded by saying that the governance issue should be dealt at the meetings of Director-General for Energy and Climate.

Denmark

  • Denmark stressed that the EU should take leadership regarding the modernisation of the energy sector and the fight against climate change;
  • Denmark stated that this objective should start at a national level;
  • the new Danish government would introduce a Climate law with the domestic GHG reduction target of 70% by 2030;
  • this law would be followed by a National Climate Action Plan with specific measures to deliver on the target;
  • on energy efficiency, Denmark mentioned that it needed to step up its ambitions with additional measures on energy savings in central government buildings before sending its final plan by the end of 2019;
  • these measures would be followed by others on energy efficiency targeting more widely in the public sector;
  • Denmark said that it wanted to make sure that the public sector would take the lead;
  • Denmark stressed that the work of the Council just began as it would not be finished after the submission of the NECP at the end of 2019;
  • Denmark outlined that new ambitious measures would need to be taken in the following years;
  • therefore, with regard to EC assessments, Denmark advocated MS to take stock and commit to further actions if necessary;
  • finally, Denmark stressed that the EC should be prepared to propose additional measures at EU level.

Sweden

  • Sweden stressed that during the negotiations of the Energy Union Governance Regulation, the question of fulfilling the ambition gap was one of the key issue;
  • Sweden recalled that MS agreed on objective criteria to be used in case of ambition gap;
  • therefore, Sweden stated that all MS should pledge national contribution for renewable energy that would correspond to the objective criteria;
  • Sweden mentioned that it was necessary to both reach EU targets and preserving MS flexibility in the Clean Energy Package implementation process;
  • Sweden advocated that if the gap would not be closed after the delivery of the final NECPs and that the EC imposed innovation output indicator EU measures, these measures should be directed toward MS that would contribute to a level below the objective criteria;
  • on the Council role, Denmark expressed that it needed a transparent and predictable process that would ensure the legitimacy of the governance mechanism agreed during the negotiations;
  • Denmark concluded by saying that MS would need to know in advance what criteria they would be evaluated against.

France

  • France stressed that the EU should take into account long-term changes, especially the proposal of November 2018;
  • in this effect, France Energy and Climate law would soon be published and would seek to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as well as implementing new instruments to achieve these energy and climate targets;
  • on renewable energy, France mentioned that the gap estimated by the EC was small compared with the EU targets but that the final NECPs needed to be more ambitious in order to achieve EU objectives. For this reason, France had moved from 32 to 33% for the renewable energy target by 2030;
  • France outlined the importance to have flanking measures and a regulatory framework in order to achieve that target;
  • the future guidelines on state aid would be essential on the energy and environment;
  • France said that simplicity and visibility were required and that technological tendering should be organised to achieve these objectives;
  • France highlighted that the European renewable industry should occupy a greater place within the EU;
  • on energy efficiency, France stressed that the gap should be carefully assessed on the base of Article 7 of the Directive;
  • France acknowledged that all MS should make an effort to be more ambitious, especially if the EU wanted to take regulatory measures;
  • on its NECP, France outlined that it contained various detailed aspects especially on 2 key elements:
    • on the energy efficiency in buildings, France wanted to reduce thermic heat loss and 40% less consumption in tertiary buildings by 2030 compared to 2010-2017;
    • France also wanted to implement financing instruments to accelerate decarbonisation in transport that would help people to buy clean cars but also instruments that would help to develop infrastructures for charging electric vehicles;
  • finally, France outlined that citizens and industry should be involved in these processes in order to guarantee its success and accessibility.

Croatia

  • Croatia expressed its support to the EU energy policy focused on the decarbonisation of the energy sector and dedicated to the clean energy objectives;
  • on its NECP, Croatia indicated that it promoted EU principals and thrived to more affordable clean and secure energy for all citizens;
  • Croatia stressed that it was in the process of finalisation of its new Energy Strategy which would provide an overview of the energy sector until 2030 and with a view to 2050;
  • this new Energy Strategy would focus on main energy topics at EU level (e.g. decarbonisation, security supply, adequate mix and the promotion of renewables, energy transition of certain regions and islands);
  • Croatia outlined that both Plan and Strategy were interlinked and harmonised and demonstrated the potential that Croatia had in the development of renewable energy sources;
  • Croatia underlined that besides wind and solar energy, it also focused on bioenergy and energy from geothermal sources;
  • these sources would enable the connection of the energy sector with other sectors such as the economy and the agriculture;
  • Croatia emphasised the importance of new technologies and expressed its intention to promote it in order to achieve the targets defined at EU level;
  • Croatia highlighted that energy should become greener and that the NECPs were the tools by which MS could present broader targets by 2030;
  • Croatia pointed out that it had indicated ambitious targets for renewables in the draft NECP, and that the significant savings for energy efficiency were planned in the building sector;
  • after the adoption of NECPs, Croatia mentioned that the EU would need to focus on the establishment of mechanism and tools for monitoring all activities set by the Plan;
  • with regard to this, Croatia advocated to focus on additional education and data monitoring and verification systems, which would have to be identical in all MS;
  • this could require additional capacity, especially in the case of smaller administrations;
  • Croatia also underlined the need of strong support of the EC on the establishment of the monitoring system in MS;
  • after the submission of NECPs, Croatia said that the communication between MS and the EC would be important especially regarding the implementation of the measures prescribed in the Plans and the possibility for financing these measures;
  • especially regarding innovative technologies that show great potential in the long run.

Latvia

  • Latvia mentioned it was in a process of assessing the EC recommendations and their impacts on its economy;
  • Latvia stressed that its renewable energy contribution target had been raised to the level proposed by the EC (50%);
  • on renewable energy, Latvia outlined that it had plans and ideas for electricity and heating;
  • Latvia depicted the transport sector as one of its major challenge even though solutions or partial solutions were possible;
  • the use of biomethane in public transport would contribute to the achievement of EU objectives;
  • on the initiative of energy efficiency contributions, Latvia stressed that its main problems were housing and the isolation challenge;
  • Latvia mentioned that it needed additional public financing for the implementation of the more ambitious targets which would lead to greater contribution to the EU efficiency targets;
  • Latvia stressed the need to discuss which policies could be identified and applied at EU level, especially regarding the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Slovakia

  • Slovakia outlined that the NECPs were a series of new measures which would make a big contribution to using the potential for energy efficiency;
  • this would reflect the principal of primacy of energy efficiency;
  • Slovakia stressed the importance of innovative solutions, the efficient collection of data and the involvement of the greatest number of final energy users;
  • in this context, Slovakia mentioned that significant effort could be made in the industry and the public sector;
  • Slovakia outlined that all this was part of a long-term strategy for the renovation of buildings;
  • Slovakia recalled that renewables share would go up to 32% and that it was an ambitious target;
  • the regulation of November 2018 contained references to climate measures which did not take sufficiently into account the conditions and the potential for use of renewable energy in Slovakia;
  • Slovakia stated that nuclear energy represented an important proportion of its energy sector and that Slovakia had also a lot of natural gases;
  • therefore, Slovakia highlighted that it had low emissions in the energy sector;
  • Slovakia mentioned that it was reviewing its Plans for renewable energy by 2030 and stressed that it wanted to make a contribution to the 2030 targets;
  • Slovakia outlined that it was looking to increase its share of renewables taking into account its potential and conditions;
  • a combination of private and public resources would be needed in particular in the field of research and development;
  • Slovakia stated that MS could be helped to allocate sufficient funds taking into account the priorities set out in the NECPs of individual MS.

Italy 

  • Commission had asked several MS to make better use of national resources in order to bridge the ambition gap;
  • Italy considered that “it was no longer enough to pursue already existing policies on their existing scale“;
  • the Italian government’s programme had climate and environmental questions at its very core and was committed to speeding up the implementation phases;
  • part of the programme of the new Italian government was to propose a green national deal, a pact with their productive system, which aimed also at identifying the changes ahead as a great opportunity;
  • Italy supported the allocation of capital at a European level for green investments in order to made up for the deficit at a national level;
  • regarding energy efficiency, Italy believed that the Council should prevent from increasing the collective efforts towards the 2030 targets, as in the case of Italy their targets were met and surpassed and further adjustments would hamper the competitiveness of their economy. Instead they encouraged for this pressure to be placed on the MS that had a considerable ambition gap and therefore, more room for improvement;
  • to finalise their intervention, Italy underlined that the interaction between MS and Commission in the NECPs framework should focus on their long-term effectiveness and provide with the correct inputs to attract and retain public and private investment.

Cyprus

  • Cyprus had studied the Commission’s recommendations on their draft NECP and will incorporate them in their final NECP, at the end of that year;
  • they had adopted the 2030 target for renewables, raising from 19% to 23%, however, they underlined, in order for this target to be attained, Cyprus needed to be connected to the energy grids of the rest of the continent, it was the only MS that was not connected yet;
  • on energy savings, Cyprus expected to contribute a 0.5% of the total EU target;
  • they quoted a study from 2015 that indicated that the annual energy-saving rate for Cyprus was lower than a 1%, which was explained by their economic and technical limitations. Having this in mind, Cyprus reiterated their reservations on the methodology used by the Commission for assessing energy efficiency and vowed for national specificities to be taken into account in such;
  • on the Council’s role before and after submitting the NECPs, they believed that the Council and the MS should be able to participate in decision-making, namely in the adoption of new mechanisms and measures and called for it to play an increased role in promoting regional cooperation.

Austria

  • the Commission made clear that things were on the right track in their communication;
  • Austria was currently working on their final plan advanced that they aimed at a 45% GHG reduction by 2030;
  • their current uncertain national framework conditions created uncertainty on when new technologies would be developed. For this reason, Austria reflected that the state aid regulation should be looked at in order to assess the usage of public procurement to spur these new technologies and highlighted the new national renewable energy law that was being worked on at that moment in time which should contribute to creating the necessary conditions for these to develop;
  • they were aware of their need for new measures in order to improve their energy efficiency, particularly on transport and buildings and emphasised the importance for EU financing projects addressing this topic to be easily accessible;
  • Austria envisioned the Council playing a more active role in the implementation of the final NECPs, particularly in reaching special aims on renewable energies, which should count with better cooperation between the different MS;
  • finally, they supported the work on the EU renewable energy finance mechanism which had major potential in order to reaching cost efficiency for relevant projects.

Malta

  • Malta was pleased with the work that had been done regarding the energy union;
  • hey noted that their contribution on regards to energy efficiency would likely stay ‘largely similar‘ to the one they stated in the draft NECP, however Malta reiterated their compromise towards the implementation of energy efficiency policies in line with the EU acquis;
  • they emphasised the importance of the inclusion of all small-scale renewable energy technologies on buildings in order to achieve the desired energy savings targets;
  • Malta’s government emphasised the support towards the development of effective indigenous renewable energy sources, and they were confident that their contribution was assessed in line with their ‘specificities‘;
  • in recent years, Malta had been undergoing a radical change in its energy system, moving towards a more diversified energy mix, including the one received through the connection to the EU electricity grid;
  • Malta did not considered that these efforts were enough and they stressed their will to continue strengthening its infrastructure network through PCIs which connect Malta to the EU gas network and truly finishing the interconnection with the continent. In this light, they referred to the agreement between Council and Parliament during the negotiations of the CEF regulation for the period 2021-2027, in which priority would be given to projects that aimed at ending energy isolation and hoped for the proper implementation of this principle;
  • in case the targets were not reached after the delivery of the final NECPs, Malta believed that the discussions in the Council should include Commission’s proposals aiming to address these gaps and ‘finding common approaches benefitting all MS‘.

Estonia

  • Estonia was working ‘day and night‘ to deliver the updated Estonian plan within the deadline;
  • on renewables, their 2030 target of 42% was highly ambitious, for example in the electricity sector, renewables should increase on a 145% in respect to the present date, planned mostly for windparks. On the limitations that affected this development, they highlighted slow spatial planning procedures, often negative public perception and defence obligations;
  •  regional cooperation of renewables development by 2020 and beyond was of great importance;
  • on energy efficiency, they stressed the considerable steps taken in order to decouple energy consumption and economic growth, introducing various measures and support schemes on the transport and building sectors, which required high investments and continued public support;
  • Estonia’s primary energy use was projected to substantially decrease by 2030 due to the reduction of the oil shale sector, which was currently its main source of energy production;
  • most of the energy at the moment was focused on the delivery of the NECPs, however, after this, they wished for a continued engagement and share of best practices.

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria had supported the process of completing the Energy Union;
  • they reminded of the fact that by 2013, Bulgaria had reached its renewable energies target for 2020 and that their share of renewable energy in the overall gross consumption was way above the 2020 benchmark of 16%;
  • having the above in mind, they wanted to assure their colleagues of their solid basis to build upon when working towards the renewable energies targets of 2030;
  • when finishing their NECP, Bulgaria would take full account of the result calculated in the indicative formula by increasing their renewables target to 27% from 25%;
  • this reinforced ambition would also be applied to their energy efficiency targets, on which they were currently working on additional measures;
  • they called for more regional cooperation and suggested to expand the scope for the high level group on central and southeastern European connectivity in the direction of renewables and energy efficiency;
  • regarding the monitoring process, they stressed the importance of addressing deficiencies in a timely manner and called for various Council formations to be part of this process.

Poland

  • in their view, the Commission communication indicated that it was easier to lay down political objectives than to realise them. The implementation of these goals gave way to abundant challenges, even more, ‘to those who after 1945 fell into Russian hands‘;
  • MS had defined their ambitious input on an analytical basis taking into account their starting point;
  • the existent gaps pointed out by the Commission (energy efficiency, renewables, GHG reductions, cross-border connections) were a result of the lack of potential to develop or the excessive costs for the economy;
  • Poland was not planning to increase its contributions in the energy efficiency as they regarded their ambitions are adequate, however, their plan would be supplemented by additional information on the policies they were planning to apply;
  • Poland had intensified their measures to support renewable energies but was not increasing their 2030 targets, and with the principle of just transition in mind, since they considered it to be already very ambitious. In their view, a further increase would generate damaging socio-economic costs;
  • in their view, when deciding the 2030 targets, the different possibilities of MS should be taken into account and forcing to abrupt short-term changes may impair the competitiveness of their economies and increase carbon leakage;
  • regarding how to fund the increased expectations on the MS, Poland reflected of the huge need for EU investments, including money from the MFF which would help the most affected regions. For this, Poland called for the principle of European solidarity.

Romania

  • they praised the good work done by the EU in the last years, by building the legislative framework;
  • Romania reflected that the drafting and completion NECPs were a complex exercise since it had cross-sectoral implications and involved a diverse range of public sectors and stakeholders;
  • they were currently assessing the Commission’s recommendations and highlighted a national consultation process among Romanian authorities in order to assess the possibilities of their implementation;
  • they echoed previous remarks of the consideration of each MS possibilities and specificities and called for a transparent and fair process;
  • finally, Romania wished for good cooperation with the Commission and MS, and considered that satisfactory that the governance regulation established a monitoring role for the Council which would aim a filling the ambition gap.

Lithuania

  • they praised the smooth nature of the process and the recommendations they received;
  • Lithuania had already taken steps to tackle the existent ambition gaps, for which they highlighted their already reinforced efforts on energy efficiency such as methodological matters, financial incentives to businesses and for housing renovation;
  • regarding renewables, their aim was of a 45% by 2030, goal which was closely related with having a ‘competitive Lithuania’. Technologically neutral auction distributions had already contributed to incentivise the sector;
  • Lithuania highlighted the preliminary measures that were drawn in order to ensure a 15% of renewable energies in the transport sector by 2030. They were aiming to increasing the mandatory share of biodiesel, second generation biofuels and the production of biomethane gas;
  • they emphasised the importance of public consultations, they presented their draft plans and spurred citizen and private sector engagement and inclusion in the steps ahead;
  • Lithuania suggested that the Commission would present in the December Council updated information of the results achieved by MS since they received the recommendations, focusing on narrowing the gaps of the least ambitious MS;
  • regarding what happens after 2020, once implementation starts, they called for measures to be in line with MS specificities, otherwise they would risk the principle of ‘just transition‘.

Greece

  • Greece stressed that the NECP would be a fundamental tool and a strong basis on which it would build its national energy strategy;
  • Greece expressed its intention to take EC recommendations into account and to add new ambitious government policies as emphasised by the Greek Prime Minister at the Climate Summit;
  • Greece announced that it would update its objectives for renewables from 31 to 35% and also its objectives regarding energy efficiency;
  • on these two points, Greece said that it already started consultation procedure notably through a new national consultation;
  • the Greek government would present a new ambitious program that would intend to increase the reduction of the share of lignite in the national energy production during the next 10 years;
  • this would lead to the shut down of lignite plants and it would have an impact on more than 4.000 employees;
  • therefore, Greece said that it was preparing a comprehensive action plan in this area;
  • in that context and in order to achieve these objectives, Greece underlined the importance of ensuring the contribution of the European level through funding such as the transition fund;
  • on the implementation of these measures, Greece stressed that it had already defined tools by which it intended to assist the implementation;
  • on renewable energy sources, Greece mentioned that it intended to speed up the licensing procedure through specific proposals and through its new directive, Greece intended to front load new renewables directive;
  • on energy efficiency, Greece stated that it intended to promote a module that would be applied to public buildings through ESCO funded investments;
  • as regards private buildings, Greece would include the participation of the banking sector;
  • Greece also stressed that it prepared a new legislative framework for electricity and electric vehicles, which was connected to the partial privatisation of the distribution operator;
  • on the role of the Council, Greece mentioned that it should ensure transparency for the policies implemented by MS;
  • it should also increase regional cooperation and finally the Council should foster increased funding mechanisms to facilitate the transition.

Hungary

  • Hungary stated that it was committed to implement the 2030 EU energy and climate targets and to contribute to the achievement of these targets according to its capabilities;
  • Hungary stressed that it had already reduced its GHG emissions by 32% compared to the 1990 level, the electricity reached 60% carbon-free production and it already achieved its 2020 targets regarding renewable energy and GHG emissions and energy used targets;
  • Hungary mentioned that its energy use per capita was far below EU average;
  • on climate change, Hungary outlined GHG reduction as the main driver of the future framework;
  • Hungary underlined the role of renewable energy, energy efficiency and nuclear energy as tools to fight climate change;
  • according to Hungary, careful planning and impact assessment should be taken before any new decision on the ambition level in order to have realistic and credible final Plans;
  • however, multiple challenges were faced:
    • Hungary pointed out that MS should implement the already adopted legislation as some countries were struggling with the implementation of the previous Energy Efficiency Directive;
    • Hungary stressed that some guidance documents in secondary legislative acts to have the implementation of the Clean Energy Package were still missing which made it more difficult to establish more ambitious commitments;
    • on renewable energy, Hungary advocated to take into account the risk of technological development and cost effectiveness, however the country considered raising its minimal targets and would assess the cost and energy price of any additional measures;
    • Hungary mentioned that the cohesion funds dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy should not be reduced in the new MFF;
  • on the second question, Hungary stated that even though the time available until the adoption of the final NECPs was short, the Council and its working parties could act as a platform to share experiences, challenges and best practices;
  • Hungary recalled that the adoption of the final NECPs was not the end of the process and that key legislations were not adopted yet as the Connecting Europe Facility or the Renewable Energy Financing Platform;
  • Hungary mentioned that the Council could facilitate the fast adoption of these acts;
  • Hungary stressed that there would be an opportunity to adjust the ambition level and updating the NECPs based on the progress reports and the gained experiences;
  • for the period after 2030, Hungary outlined that the Energy Council could adopt conclusions to provide political guidance and strengthen EU engagement in case the EU MS commitments were not sufficient to achieve the EU level targets;
  • finally, Hungary pointed out that the revision of the recently adopted EU legislations would only hinder the process as it would draw away human and other resources from implementation.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union

  • he thanked all the presents for their sincere  interventions and stressed that there would be further bi-lateral follow-up meetings;
  • he was confident on regards to bridging the renewable energy gap but the energy efficiency gap was bigger and harder to bridge;
  • he called for close cooperation and further efforts to be dedicated to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and acknowledged the difficulties that MS were facing when providing financing for private or public buildings. On this regard, he stressed the Commission efforts on the ‘smart financing for smart buildings‘ initiative for which he hoped could be revamped and included into the framework of the European Green Deal in order to channel more financing into the sector;
  • after some mentions on the mobility sector, he highlighted the increased ambitions stated by Von der Leyen on regards to aviation and maritime transport;
  • he stressed the importance of the European Battery Alliance’s efforts to ‘catch up’ and to produce not only batteries but also the best cars in the world, about which he included hydrogen-fuelled. With this in mind, he advanced a positive announcement that would be made that present week on how the further consortium in Europe would be organised in order to use the very small window of opportunity to move into massive high quality production;
  • answering the French delegation on how to ‘keep the people in the process’, a really important matter judging how climate issues resonated during the European elections, he chose to emphasise the positive cooperation when working with the Coal Regions in Transition. He advocated for extending this approach to other susceptible sectors such as the energy intensive industry and stressed the key role that the Just Transition Fund would play in this regard;
  • on regards to the suggestions on factoring renewables in the context of energy efficiency, he advanced that on the following day detailed guidelines would be adopted but shared that their main focus would be to determine a lower energy consumption;
  • to close the debate, he welcomed the fruitful discussions and suggested the Finnish Presidency to have a similar discussion in December.

The simultaneous interpretation of debates provided by the EU institutions serves only to facilitate communication amongst the participants in the meeting. It does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. One Policy Place uses these translations so this text is only a guide and should not be relied on as an official account of the meeting. Only the original speech or the revised written translation of that speech is authentic

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