The EU’s policy on the Energy Union

The “Energy Union”  is based on the three long-established objectives of EU energy policy: security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness. To reach these objectives, the Energy Union focuses on five mutually supportive dimensions:

  • Energy security, solidarity and trust;
  • the internal energy market;
  • energy efficiency as a contribution to the moderation of energy demand;
  • decarbonisation of the economy; and
  • research, innovation and competitiveness.

All these dimensions are areas that require more integration and coordination across Europe. The adopted action plan should be followed-up and reviewed as time progresses to ensure that it keeps responding to evolving challenges and new developments.

The Commission is currently working on a number of issues in this area and when it comes to diversification of energy sources the Commission and some Member States seem to be intent on phasing out coal in the EU. However, it should not be forgotten that the aim of diversification is to make Europe less dependent on outside suppliers and this cannot be achieved with renewables only.

The downstream users of energy are concerned that the strong political signal will in turn result in an even weaker energy infrastructure and higher prices.  Without accompanying measures it also increases the environmental and health and safety risks since needed investments will be redirected.

A more comprehensive strategy will be needed. Therefore a number of measures will be needed:

Growth and competitive energy and its availability across the EU

•             Existing conventional energy generation is here to stay for some time and hence             modernisation and new solutions need to be developed for higher efficiency in energy production.

                Therefore it is also important to invest in the development of clean coal as well as the useful      use of CO2.  Much more research h will be needed in this area.

Coal production 1971-2013 by region (Mt), China  no 1

Bettercoal Code

The Bettercoal Code sets out the ethical, social and environmental principles and provisions that members of Bettercoal expect organizations producing coal in their supply chain to align with.

The Bettercoal Code has been developed through a global public consultation process involving coal producers, trade unions, social and environmental organisations, governments, mining related service providers, and utility companies around the world.

The Code covers ethical, social and environmental principles and provisions that are relevant to coal mining companies, including:

  • General performance requirements, including management systems;
  • Business ethics performance, including disclosure;
  • Human and labour rights, social performance, including health and safety;
  • Environmental performance.

Current members are:  ESB, DONG Energy, DRAX, EDF, EDP, ENEL, Fortum, gasNatural fenosa, engie, Iberdrola, RWE, Uniper, Vattenfall.

 

Alternative  Energy

Alternative energy generation requires new networks and raw materials.

Special attention should be given to critical and other metals for strategic energy as well as other modern technologies.  A shortage of specialised  metals could be a potential bottleneck to the deployment of low-carbon energy technologies (nuclear, solar, wind, bioenergy, tide energy) and new applications in XXI Century technologies (IT, embedded systems, sensors, robotics and automation in        mining operations).