Following the inquiry into decarbonisation and economic competitiveness, the House of Lords will debate the EU Committee’s report, No Country is an Energy Island: Securing Investment in the EU's Future, published on 2 May 2013.
The report investigates how EU energy policy can assist with the EU’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a secure energy supply at competitive prices – otherwise known as the “trilemma”. On 27 March 2013, the Commission launched a Green Paper on the future Energy and Climate Policy and so we are confident that this Report was well timed to feed into that debate. While the report does not focus on the UK specifically, energy has clearly been prominent in the domestic political agenda over the last year. It concludes that without policy clarity and investment, the EU will be uncompetitive and overdependent on elsewhere to meet its energy needs, and it will fail to seize an opportunity to make a material and enduring contribution to European economic recovery.
The report also emphasises the following points:
- Financing is available for secure long-term investments, but releasing that investment requires policy risk to be tackled. Swift adoption of a new 2030 policy framework is critical;
- Costs, for consumers and industry, can be stabilised. However this will be only if a clear policy framework that will encourage investment (particularly in low carbon sources that can reduce reliance on imported, and volatile, fossil fuels) can be agreed;
- While Member States reserve the right to decide their energy mix, the Commission must assess the impact of emerging national policies for neighbouring countries and the EU as a whole;
- Pivotal to the ability of the EU, and indeed the work, to meet its carbon reduction committments in a cost-effective manner is swift development and commercialisation of carbon capture and storage (CCS). In order to encourage CCS, it ma be necessary to apply a regulatory approach, including a provisional target date for CCS to be applied to new fossil fuel power stations;
- Delivering policy clarity, including a 2030 framework, cannot be underplayed. Suggested recommendations include: a 40% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030; a renewable energies target; consideration of a 2030 energy efficiency target; and a revision of the Emissions Trading System;
- Further consideration as to the financing of research and innocation is required, in partnership with Member States and the European Investment Bank;
- Greater electricity interconnection between Member States will support both the further deployment of renewable energies and secure the EU's energy supplies. Raising public awareness and overcoming concern is a barrier to futher development of energy infrastructure; and
- Capacity mechanisms should only be used as short-term measures.
The debate is scheduled to start at about 3.30pm. Lord Carter of Coles (Labour) will open the debate and Baroness Verma (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the Government.