Proposals to ensure energy security in the EU have been unveiled by the European Commission.
The package is aimed at equipping the region for global energy transition to address possible supply interruptions.
It sets out a wide range of measures to strengthen the EU’s resilience to gas supply disruptions, which includes moderating energy demand, increasing production in Europe including from renewables, further developing the internal market as well as diversification of energy sources, suppliers and routes.
The Commission has set a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) strategy that will improve access for all Member States and end single source dependency as “significant” regional disparities still remain.
Europe is said to be the biggest importer of natural gas in the world, with overall import capacity currently enough to meet around 43% of total gas demand.
The proposals also include a heating and cooling strategy which is focused on removing barriers to decarbonisation in buildings and industry as well as stresses the need for increased energy efficiency and renewables for energy security.
According to the Commission, the heating and cooling of buildings and industry consumes half of the EU’s energy, with 75% powered by fossil fuels.
They are part of the Energy Union, which aims to provide all Europeans with energy that is secure, sustainable and competitive.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President responsible for Energy Union said: “Today’s package focuses on the security of our supply but touches upon all three overarching goals. By reducing our energy demand, and better managing our supply from external sources we are delivering on our promise and enhancing the stability of Europe’s energy market.”
EURELECTRIC, the association which represents the common interests of the electricity industry at pan-European level, said it is “positive” about the proposals but has a few concerns.
Responding to the heating and cooling plans, it added: “These must include a clear recognition that as the electricity sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are strongly decreasing, electricity should play a key role in decarbonising heating and cooling and will bring other important benefits, such as improvements in air quality.
“It is also important to provide consumers with choice, affordability, security and quality of services through markets and to recognise the fact that a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot work. The solutions must therefore allow the necessary freedom to Member States to assess their national and local challenges and opportunities.”