Implementing the Energy Union – Gas helps turning ideas into action

The Energy Union was one of the major initiatives that the present European Commission launched when it was appointed in 2014. It even created a specific Vice-President position to oversee its execution.

More than two years on – and thousands of pages in legislative documents later – the Commission is now getting to grip with the implementation of the Energy Union.

Listening to the Vice-President for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic going through his second State of the Energy Union speech, I have to say I feel proud to see how our industry, and GasNaturally, are contributing to turn ideas into action.

Here are four key elements:

  • Energy poverty: putting the consumer at the centre. Ensuring access to affordable energy is clearly a priority for Europe. As the EU prepares to tackle the issue, it will be crucial to keep in mind that gas is three times cheaper than electricity, according to the EU’s own numbers. And this is certainly not a call to increase taxes on gas, but rather to recall a very important reality.[1]
  • Energy security: Alongside the more traditional gas pipe supplies, new Liquefied Natural Gas terminals are helping to diversify the sources of the EU gas supply. Building on a reliable, existent gas network, the ability to import LNG makes our supplies even more secure (don’t forget: more than half of the gas the EU uses is produced domestically and in Norway).
  • Energy efficiency: This is really not rocket science - consuming less energy makes it cleaner, more secure and cheaper. A large part of European citizens use gas to heat their homes and their water, which means that a switch to new boilers – that are much more efficient – could save them good money, just as it would limit greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Decarbonization: I left this last because this is Europe’s ultimate, overarching priority: deliver on its climate ambitions and on the Paris Agreement. The best demonstration that gas can easily help deliver on these goals is fresh data from a joint analysis of two environmental think-tanks, Sandbag and Agora Energiewende: “EU power emissions fell 4.5% in 2016, primarily through a huge switch from coal generation to gas generation,” they said in presenting their most recent report.

The European gas industry is committed to help Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and his team to deliver on the Energy Union objectives.

By François-Régis MoutonChairman of GasNaturally

[1]   Report ‘Energy prices and costs in Europe’, European Commission, COM(2016) 769 final. Figure 3 in this report shows that the energy component of average EU household retail electricity prices equals around 75€/MWh, and for industry – slightly over 50€/MWh (Figure 6). Figure 10 shows that the energy component of average EU household retail gas prices accounts for around 35€/MWh, and for industry – slightly over 25€/MWh (Figure 12).