The FINANCIAL — Enhanced energy efficiency is essential for creating a low-carbon economy and to fulfil the goals of the Energy 2020 Strategy, Minister for National Development Tamás Fellegi, stressed at the press conference following the Energy Council’s meeting in Luxembourg on 10 June 2011.
The Minsters also exchanged views on the stress tests of European nuclear power plants.
Energy ministers of EU Member States have adopted Council conclusions on the Energy Efficiency Plan 2011. This includes actions, which contribute to delivering the European Union’s 2020 20 percent energy efficiency target. Fellegi pointed out at the meeting that enhanced energy efficiency is essential to meeting the goal of the low-carbon economy.
Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, pointed out that the Commission will soon make further proposals in the topic of energy efficiency. He called for the participants’ attention to the fact that 20 percent of the buildings in Member States serve public functions, but only 1.5 percent meet the latest energy efficiency standards. Mr Oettinger mentioned that the Commission intends to oblige Member States to modernise their buildings in order to increase this rate to 3 percent in coming years.
More transparent energy markets
During the debate, Ministers have reached a political agreement over the draft regulation on the integrity and transparency of wholesale energy markets (REMIT).
Speaking at the meeting, Fellegi emphasised that the aim is to set up a framework, which facilitates the monitoring of wholesale energy markets and the prevention of abuses and manipulations. “We have had a very meaningful and useful debate in this question,” Mr Fellegi said, evaluating the discussion. Mr Oettinger was also satisfied with the results of the meeting. “Both the regulation and the agreement are very important from the perspective of transparency, so I am really grateful to Minister Fellegi,” he said.
Energy Roadmap 2050
The Council also discussed the progress of the Energy Roadmap 2050. Previously, the Presidency provided Member States with a summary it had prepared on the informal meeting of Energy Ministers, on 3 May in Gödöllő.
During the discussion of this subject, Fellegi underlined that the volume and financing demand of energy investments, make it necessary for Member States to consider the long-term future of the common European energy policy. He said that the roadmap has to be sufficiently flexible for it to respond to technological development and its public perception. According to Mr Fellegi, we have to send long-term messages to investors and markets in relation to energy policy priorities, such as carbon trading.
Agreement on stress tests
Based on the Commission’s information, the ministerial meeting also devoted a detailed discussion to the issue of stress tests of European nuclear plants. On 1 June, Member States concerned started the arranged comprehensive risk and safety assessment, which will provide grounds for the Commission’s report to be negotiated by the European Council, on 9 December. Mr Fellegi mentioned at the meeting that assessment, the task of regulators and experts, has to be clearly distinguished from later political decisions relating to the future in the nuclear sector.
Speaking at the press conference, Mr Fellegi was satisfied to find that Member States have reached a full consensus in strategic issues: “Stress tests have received overwhelming political endorsement and consensus, and so did the idea that the most stringent safety requirements are needed.”
North-South Energy Corridor and Nabucco
At the eve of the Council meeting, Fellegi held talks on the North-South Energy Corridor with the Ministers of Member States concerned. During the working lunch, the parties summed up the results achieved so far by the programme aimed at linking gas, oil and electricity networks. At the lunch before the press conference, Ministers dealt with the development and financing of European energy infrastructure. The Ministers also reviewed the latest developments relating to the Nabucco pipeline.