European cities and regions shape EU’s energy landscape

Met dank overgenomen van Comité van de Regio's (CvdR) i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 1 juli 2016.

The Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy of the European Committee of the Regions met in Brussels to discuss the emerging Energy Union, the legislative reviews in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the new circular economy package and the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. European cities and regions shape EU i’s energy and climate policies as Europe goes under a major revision of its energy landscape.

“Europe is indeed in a pivotal moment as it is to define the future of its energy policy in the next two years  said Member of the European Parliament Claude Turmes i.  We need to overcome current market distortions, create financial instruments that reduce bank’s risk perception and resolve costs of capital issues. We want further alliances between the EU and local and regional authorities to come up with a legislative package that allows renewables to really take off .

Francesco Pigliaru (IT/PES), President of Sardinia and of the ENVE Commission of the CoR said: "We need to empower consumers in the emerging Energy Union and facilitate financial flows for cities and regions to boost sustainable energy investments. We call the EU to unlock the potential of decentralised energy production from renewable sources and better integrate large-scale transnational energy networks with regional smart grid infrastructures".

Mary Donnelly, European Commission’s D irector for Renewables, Research & Innovation declared: the Energy Union’s leitmotiv is twofold. On one side, consumers must be the starting point and the centre of our new energy policy, first looking at energy services demand. On the other side, regional cooperation is central as it is more cost-effective to deliver a sustainable, secured and affordable energy to citizens . As part of the energy efficiency package to be presented early autumn, the EC i will launch a new initiative on “smart financing for smart buildings , announced Mary Donnelly. It will be developed under three pillars: increasing liquidity flows, aggregating efforts for technical assistance and strengthening interaction with financial institutions for capital markets to better assess risk and price energy efficiency projects.

Following the debate on the Energy Union, ENVE voted on the following points:

Unanimous adoption of the draft opinion " Delivering the global climate agreement - a territorial approach to COP22 in Marrakesh" by rapporteur Francesco Pigliaru (IT/PES) , President of Sardinia and of the ENVE Commission of the CoR. At stake is the implementation of the Paris climate agreement, making multi-level governance operational, setting up target assessment mechanisms and developing tailored climate finance products to move forward implementation on the ground. Jo Leinen MEP (S&D/DE), co-sponsor of the European Parliament’s COP22 resolution, welcomed CoR’s contribution and stressed the need to closely cooperate with local and regional authorities in the run-up to Marrakesh.

Adoption of the draft opinion " An EU Strategy for Heating and Cooling " by rapporteur Daiva Matonienė (LT/ECR), Member of Šiauliai City Municipal Council and Lithuania's Vice Minister for Environment. The opinion proposes further promotion of district heating where conditions are favourable, fostering renovation of buildings and using cogeneration of heat and power to its full potential and calls for greater involvement of local and regional authorities in fulfilling these objectives.

Adoption of the draft opinion " An EU action plan for the Circular Economy " by rapporteur Babette Winter (DE/PES), State Secretary for Europe and Culture, State of Thuringia. The opinion calls for greater emphasis on education and raising awareness, concrete measures to promote mandatory Green Public Procurement, the revision of eco-design provisions, and the increased use of taxation to support secondary raw material markets.

Witold Stępień (PL/EPP), President of Łódzkie Region has been appointed rapporteur of an upcoming opinion on the Mid-Term Evaluation of the LIFE programme

Photos can be downloadable here