Having a secure supply of energy is crucial for the well-being of European citizens and the economy. The EU works to ensure that energy supplies are uninterrupted and energy prices remain stable.
European Energy Security Strategy
In response to the political crisis in Ukraine and the overall importance of a stable and abundant supply of energy for the EU's citizens and economy, the European Commission has released an EU energy security strategy on 28 May 2014. This strategy is based on an in-depth study of Member States' energy dependence.
In the short-term, the strategy proposes that the Commission launch energy security stress tests to simulate a disruption in the gas supply for the coming winter. The aim of these stress tests is to check how our energy system can cope with security of supply risks, and to develop emergency plans and back-up mechanisms which may include:
Increasing gas stocks.
Developing emergency infrastructure such as reverse flows.
Reducing short-term energy demand.
Switching to alternative fuels.
These stress tests should serve as the basis for strengthening existing European emergency and solidarity mechanisms. The EU should also engage with its international partners to develop new solidarity mechanisms for natural gas and the use of gas storage facilities.
Medium to long-term challenges
In addition to the proposed short term measures, the strategy addresses medium and long-term security of supply challenges. It proposes actions in five key areas:
Increasing energy efficiency and reaching the proposed 2030 energy and climate goals. Priorities in this area should focus on buildings and industry which use 40 % and 25 % of total EU energy, respectively. It is also important to help consumers lower their energy consumption, for example with clear billing information and smart energy meters.
Increasing energy production in the EU and diversifying supplier countries and routes. This includes further deployment of renewables, sustainable production of fossil fuels, and safe nuclear where the option is chosen. It also entails negotiating effectively with current major energy partners such as Russia, Norway, or Saudi Arabia, as well as new partners such as countries in the Caspian Basin region.
Completing the internal energy market and building missing infrastructure links to quickly respond to supply disruptions and re-direct energy across the EU to where it is needed.
Speaking with one voice in external energy policy, including having Member States inform the Commission early-on with regards to planned agreements with third countries which may affect the EU's security of supply.
Strengthening emergency and solidarity mechanisms and protecting critical infrastructure. This includes more coordination between Member States to use existing storage facilities, develop reverse flows, conduct risk assessments and put in place security of supply plans at regional and EU level.
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