The annual conference of Eurelectric representing the collaboration and common interests of the electricity sector was held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 13-14 June 2011. The conference emphasised the importance of a stable, predictable and harmonised energy policy in achieving the EU’s energy and climate targets and in meeting the investment challenges of a smart and low-emissions energy economy. Also Fortum considers EU-wide harmonisation important in the realisation of a pan-European energy market.
At the Conference, uncertainty related to energy policy both at the EU and particularly at a national level was considered the biggest factor slowing energy investments. Even though EU member states have agreed to establish an internal energy market by 2014, member states still have energy policies differing from each other, policies that do not necessarily support the goal for a pan-European internal energy market. For example, the subsidy models for renewable energy targets and energy taxes are primarily national, even though they are based on EU legislation.
Fortum agrees with Eurelectric that as the EU energy markets integrate, the energy policies and subsidy systems of member states also should be coordinated and harmonised in order to avoid distortion of competition and to better utilise the efficiency benefits brought by the wider market. If staying with national energy policy models, achieving several energy targets will be more expensive, competition will emerge between public support mechanisms, and the pan-European internal market goals – increasing competition, competitive and stabile prices, and good service to end customers – will become questionable. Fortum is of the opinion that the energy sector’s operating environment should, in fact, be developed so that it would enable increasingly more market-driven energy production and so that subsidy systems would be harmonised on the most sustainable foundation possible.
Fortum supports Eurelectric’s statement, according to which the EU Commission should e.g.:
- Secure the proper realisation of and compliance with the EU’s third internal market package
- Exercise the mandate given by the Lisbon Treaty to harmonise the energy policy in different member states
- Offer member states models they can use to voluntarily implement energy policy goals in a harmonised manner – for example, models to promote energy-efficiency, reward investments in smart grids etc.
- Take on the infrastructure challenge – current renewable energy targets require significant investments in new transmission capacity and distribution networks
- Increase funding for energy-related research and development