The European Commission’s energy security strategy released on 28 May risks rushing Europe into costly and ineffective ‘fixes’ to reduce dependency on Russian gas, rather than offering long-term and resilient solutions.
Ingrid Holmes, Associate Director at E3G, said:
“There is an urgent need for a ‘back to basics’ approach in developing an energy security plan for Europe. The focus must be on a framework that delivers all key aims of Europe’s climate and energy policy: prioritising energy security but in a manner which enhances rather than hinders the other objectives of affordability, competitiveness and sustainability. A framework that prioritises energy efficiency would deliver upon all those objectives.”
“Building more gas interconnectors and pipelines may look like an attractive energy security solution but if the gas – once it arrives – is wasted in powering inefficient industrial processes or heating draughty homes, the logic starts to fall apart”.
This is especially true when scarce European and public funds are channelled to do so, explained Jonathan Gaventa, E3G Programme Leader on European energy infrastructure.
“Energy infrastructure is capital-intensive, long-term investment. If Europe reacts to the current crisis by throwing public money at new fossil fuel infrastructure, it will risk creating expensive white elephant projects that will be obsolete in a few years time. It could also put Europe’s long-term energy security at risk by denying much-needed funding to important electricity grid projects”.
EU Member States must now take the European Commission’s proposed strategy and agree on the resilient way forward. E3G urges them to use this unique opportunity to properly align Europe’s climate and energy security agendas to transition to a robust economy less exposed to volatile and unstable markets – by making energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart and European electricity networks the principal pillars of their strategy.