In October 2014, the European Union (EU) set ambitious climate and energy targets for 2030, confirming its global leadership on climate change. But while the targets are in place, the legal framework to implement them is yet to be developed. Energy Policies of IEA Countries: European Union – 2014 provides recommendations on how the targets can be reached in a cost-effective and integrated way, while fostering the competitiveness and energy security of the European Union. The recommendations build on the lessons learned since the first IEA in-depth review of the European Union in 2008.
Since then, EU policy has been driving energy market integration, cross-border trade and the implementation of energy and climate targets by 2020. The European Union is a global leader in transitioning towards a low-carbon economy: Europe’s unprecedented renewable energy boom, its action on energy efficiency and the economic downturn have all contributed to a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. However, energy security concerns have increased. Ageing nuclear and coal plants will be shut, and EU energy systems and markets must accommodate growing shares of variable renewable energy. The European Union seeks to foster access to diversified gas and oil supplies to reduce dependence on single suppliers.
Making the most of its diversity, the European Union must strengthen the internal energy market to enhance both its energy security and the competitiveness of its industry. Yet, important interconnections are missing, and, despite the opening of the wholesale market and decreasing prices, concentrated and regulated retail markets do not deliver benefits to consumers. As member states adopt different decarbonisation pathways and energy policy choices, a strong “Energy Union” is needed with effective energy market rules and policies that support the development of low-carbon technologies, within the new energy and climate policy framework for 2030.
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