To ensure that the EU is on the cost-effective track towards meeting its objective of cutting emissions by at least 80% by 2050, the Commission proposed the â€˜2030 framework for climate change and energy policies'. It was adopted by the European Council in October 2014 as a strategic document, although binding legislation is yet to be drafted. It includes the binding 2030 EU domestic GHG reduction target of at least 40% compared to 1990, as well as a target of at least 27% for final renewable energy, and a at least 27% for energy savings by 2030 (target to be reviewed upwards to 30% in 2020).
In addition, the EU ETS is to be reformed and strengthened. To achieve the 2030 binding 40% reduction target, the sectors covered by the EU ETS would have to reduce their emissions by 43% compared to 2005. In parallel, emissions from non-EU ETS sectors would need to be cut by 30% below the 2005 level, through national measures. To address the surplus of emission allowances in the EU ETS and to improve the system's resilience, a market stability reserve is to be established and the annual factor to reduce the cap on the maximum permitted emissions is to be changed from the current 1.74% to 2.2% from 2021. The volume of free allowances is to be reduced progressively; Member States with a GDP per capita below 60% of the EU average may opt to continue to give free allowances to the energy sector up to 2030, but the maximum amount handed out for free after 2020 should be no more than 40% of the allowances allocated to eligible Member States.
The 2030 Framework stresses the importance of a fully functioning and connected EU energy market, as foreseen in the European Energy Security Strategy (2014). The Commission is to be supported by Member States to take measures to ensure achievement of a minimum target of 10% of electricity interconnections no later than 2020.
The 2030 framework also launches the preparation of the Energy Union aiming at affordable, secure and sustainable energy, by 'pooling resources, connecting networks and uniting member states' power when negotiating with non EU countries'. Specific legislative proposals are expected in 2015.
The Commission adopted the Energy Security Strategy in response to the political crisis in Ukraine and the overall importance of a stable and abundant supply of energy.
The strategy seeks to respond to the high dependence on energy imports (53% total energy consumed imported, including 88% of crude oil, 66% of natural gas, 42% of solid fuels such as coal, 95% of uranium).
In the short-term, the strategy proposes launching energy security stress tests to simulate disruptions in the gas supply for the coming winter. Other emergency plans and back-up mechanisms may include:
â€¢ Increasing gas stocks
â€¢ Developing emergency infrastructure such as reverse flows
â€¢ Reducing short-term energy demand
â€¢ Switching to alternative fuels
â€¢ Developing new solidarity mechanisms with international partners
In addition, the strategy addresses medium and long-term security of supply. It proposes actions in five main areas, with the first two particularly relevant to energy efficiency:
â€¢ Increasing energy efficiency (especially in the buildings and industry sectors) to reach the 2030 energy and climate goals; demand management through information and transparency (clear billing information, smart energy meters)
â€¢ Completing the internal energy market and developing missing infrastructure links to quickly respond to supply disruptions
â€¢ Increasing energy production in the EU and diversifying supplier countries and routes
â€¢ Speaking with one voice in external energy policy, use the information exchange mechanism with the Commission about planned agreements with third countries which may affect security of supply
â€¢ Strengthening emergency and solidarity mechanisms and protecting critical infrastructure