chapter  10
15 Pages

Energy security of supply and EU energy policy


Regarding the external dimension, the Commission’s 2006 Green Paper explicitly proposed an area of common regulation for the EU and the neigh bouring coun tries, reinforcing pro vi sions aimed at expanding the market in the energy sector via agreements with third countries. The Council’s conclusions were released in Spring 2006 with the title ‘A New Energy Policy for Europe’, endorsing the Commission’s proposals included in the Green Book of the same year. Just a few months later, the ‘Action Plan for Energy Efficiency’ (Euro pean Commission, 2006c) was made pub lic. It aimed at promoting energy conservation in the EU and confirming its position as one of the most energy-efficient regions in the world (see Chapter 3). All the previous elements were present in the Janu ary 2007 ‘Energy and Climate Change Package’, which contains the ‘20-20-20’ com mit ment for achieving by 2020 the

triple goal of re du cing greenhouse effect gas emissions by 20 per cent, raising the con tri bu tion of RES to the energy mix by the same percentage and increas­ ing energy efficiency by re du cing the same proportion in energy consumption via conservation measures. These ‘green initiatives’ are gen erally seen as inversely related to energy secur ity, since there seems to be a trade­ off between sustain abil ity and secur ity. It is true that both ob ject ives compete for the EU’s fin an cial resources, and that some stable and cheaper conventional fuel sources are against some envir on­ mental goals. However, there is room for some complementarity as well due to the effects of increasing efficiency and of a growing share of RES in the energy mix, as will be explained in detail in Chapters 12 and 15. For most EU cit izens, the Euro pean energy pol icies might be condensed into the term energy efficiency: improved vehicle performance, use of pub lic trans­ port, efficiency in do mestic and industrial appliances, improved building insula­ tion, efficient utilization of heat and electricity, pro mo tion of inter na tional agreements to increase efficiency, combined heat and electricity production, environment­ friendly design, cohesion pol icy, envir on mental taxation and so on. In the end, as energy efficiency is pos it ively correlated with all the other ob jectives, it should be the first option to achieve energy conservation and a sus tainable use of energy, thereby con trib ut ing to improved energy secur ity. It is easy to see why the Euro pean Commission is committed to signi fic antly increase Euro pean energy efficiency by 2020, as was said before. In March 2007, the Euro pean Council en dorsed the ‘20-20-20’ package (Euro­ pean Council, 2007a) and approved a two­ year energy sector secur ity and solid­ arity action plan for the EU. Since the release of the 2006 Green Paper, the concept of solid arity has been recurrently used in the fol low ing docu ments prepared by the Euro pean Commission. It is quite imprac tical to talk about energy secur ity – espe­ cially in the short term – without mentioning solid arity. However, solid arity is a difficult accomplishment to achieve in present-day Europe. Governments are respons ible for the secur ity of their own energy supplies, but national resources and pol icies alone may not always be sufficient and will often produce sub-optimal outcomes for the EU as a whole (see Chapter 2 about the pro vi sion prob lems of global pub lic goods). The dilemma between national energy pol icies versus a common energy pol icy for the EU is presented in depth in Chapter 12. Regarding energy secur ity in par ticu lar, in the same Euro pean Council document was underlined the relev ance of making the most of the tools avail able to improve the EU’s bi lat eral coopera tion with energy exporters in order to ensure reli able supplies to the EU. Besides, the Council identified the fol low ing as the mainstays of energy security:

• diversifying sources and routes of energy supply; • de veloping more effect ive crisis response mechanisms; • improving oil data transparency and reviewing EU oil supply infrastructures; • a thorough ana lysis of the availabil ity and costs of gas storage facilities in the


• an assessment of the impact of current and potential energy imports and the con ditions of related networks.