Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 121

President: that the Energy Union should be the
world number one in renewables.
“As far as I am concerned, we can get there by
inter alia
– an ambitious research and
innovation strategy, the fifth dimension of the
Energy Union project. In May 2012, the
American economist Jeremy Rifkin said in a
speech at the Mission Growth Summit: ‘The
Second Industrial Revolution, powered by ever
more expensive fossil fuels and organised
around an ageing electricity grid and an
outmoded transport network, all embedded in
a crumbling carbon-based infrastructure, is
incapable of spawning thousands of new
businesses and millions of new jobs. We need
a bold new economic narrative.’”
Empowering citizens
Šefcˇ ovicˇ then moved to discuss the additional
benefits of the creation of an Energy Union for
the citizen and the European economy.
“The Energy Union should contribute to such a
new economic narrative by setting the stage for
an energy system in which European citizens
can produce their own clean energy, by
empowering our citizens so that they can better
control their own energy consumption through
smart meters and can share it through flexible
smart grids, by developing better storage, and
by plugging clean cars into our energy network.
“No other geographical area has integrated
such an amount of renewables in the grids. We
have the experience: we must continue to
innovate and, through an industrial strategy,
translate this technological lead into European
jobs and growth. This will require investments
in research, in capital, but also in people, giving
them the right skills and making sure that
where this is difficult, the inevitable transition
is just and fair. Because to be sustainable, the
Energy Union should also be just and fair.”
A rounded policy
Šefcˇ ovicˇ concluded his address by setting out
the need for a supranational energy policy,
realised through the Energy Union, bringing
multiple benefits to EU citizens and
emphasising the need to both increase
competitiveness and deliver decarbonisation.
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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
“I mentioned many figures to show that we have a solid case, that in the
field of energy we have more to win with a European approach than with
28 national approaches.
“We now have a unique opportunity to look beyond energy and climate
policy and link it up with other areas such as industrial policy, transport,
competition, agriculture, foreign, trade and development policy, or
research. This is the only way to transcend the so-called ‘contradiction’
between ‘competitiveness’ and ‘decarbonisation’. There is no such
contradiction; we need both at the same time.
“We now have a unique opportunity to bring all players concerned to the
same table. This is why it is called a union. It is about countries, industries,
local governments, European institutions and people working together,
each at their own level and in respect of their own competences.
“It’s in that spirit that I look forward to your thoughts today, and I am
convinced we will leave Riga with a set of very practical, very concrete
ideas to build the Energy Union that we need and to which the
Commission is ready to contribute.”
By implementing the multiple objectives of the European Energy Union,
this policy pillar of the new European Commission will bring benefits to
both citizens and EU member states, ensuring a path of green, secure,
sustainable energy regulated by Europe.
The decarbonisation of
Europe’s energy
supply is a core focus
of the Commission
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