Cross-border energy initiatives can benefit from support at the EU level. The European Commission encourages this type of cooperation through different political and regulatory instruments.
The objectives of the European Union with regard to energy are ambitious. According to the Europe 2020 strategy, described in the “Directive 2009/28/CE on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources”, the Member States should:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% (compared to 1990 levels),
- attain a 20% share of renewable energy sources at the point of final energy consumption,
- work towards an increase of 20% in energy efficiency
The objectives set by the “Renewable Energy Directive” are binding for the Member States. The Directive also provides for different coordination mechanisms:
- “statistical transfers”, enabling a State with surplus energy produced from renewable sources to sell it statistically to another State;
- “joint projects”, allowing a Member State to finance a project established in another Member State or in a third country, with a statistical sharing of the production;
- “joint support schemes”, which arise when two or more Member States decide to harmonise their national support schemes
The EU cohesion policy funds should contribute effectively to the realisation of the objectives in matters of energy and climate, in particular the binding annual objectives for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions imposed on Member States for the 2013-2020 period in the framework of the decision on effort-sharing (Decision No 406/2009/CE).
In February 2015, the European Commission adopted the “Energy Union” package. It sets out a strategic framework for a resilient community space. The strategy details five interdependent political dimensions:
- energy security,
- full integration of the internal energy market,
- energy efficiency,
- decarbonisation of the economy,
- research, innovation and competitiveness
Another important measure allowing Member States to fulfil the objectives of the energy transition are the European “Projects of Common Interest” (PCIs). To qualify as a PCI, an infrastructure project must represent significant advantages for at least two Member States, while contributing to the integration of markets, improving supply security and reducing CO2 emissions. PCIs benefit from accelerated procedures for the granting of permits and better conditions for regulation.
Photo copyright: European Union, 2013