How the local level secures energy supply, creates jobs and ensures social cohesion
“Competitive Europe” – the local authority vision for 2030 climate and energy policy
How can competitiveness and energy and climate action be combined?
The evidence shows that competitiveness and security of supply are best met via increased energy efficiency and with more decentralised energy production with renewable sources. Continuous support for energy efficiency and renewable energy production will reduce the dependency on energy imports, reduce energy prices, and boost local economies creating more value as well as new local jobs.
- In 2012 Europe used €545 billion for importing fossil fuels.
- Europe’s import dependence is exponentially increasing and is set to grow to more than 80% in the case of oil and gas by 2035.
- Some Member States rely on one single Russian supplier and often on one single supply route for 80%-100% of their gas consumption. This profoundly affects the competitiveness of Europe’s economy and shows how far Europe is from its policy objective of security of supply.
Why do we need 3 ambitious and binding targets for 2030?
Local action on energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy contributes to the achievement of the EU’s 20-20-20 targets. The Covenant of Mayors initiative launched in 2008 has become the major European movement of local authorities with a clear vision. The initiative counts today some 5,500 signatories. More than 3,400 Sustainable Energy Action Plans are currently under implementation in average aiming to reduce CO₂emissions by almost 30%. A growing number of committed cities and municipalities will continue to contribute to achieving the climate goals – also beyond 2020 – not only because these actions mitigate climate change, but also due to their positive economic and social impacts.
Following examples of Climate Alliance show the evidence
Plenty of business opportunities through sustainable and decentralised energy policies
The culprits of the decreasing competitiveness of Europe are definitely not renewable energy and energy efficiency. All headlines blaming renewable energy for high(er) energy prices and decreasing opportunities for job creation could be easily refuted. And (honest) figures reveal that fossil fuels and nuclear electricity subsidies are often much higher than those for renewable energy.
Of course, the energy transition will change a lot: Instead of large scale coal and nuclear plants, there will be numerous small and decentralised energy producers and energy cooperatives; less big employers but many SMEs; innovative products, which find markets all over the world; engaged and responsible citizens becoming “prosumers”; better security of energy supply and less energy poverty… But does that sound so bad?
The local examples presented in this portfolio demonstrate the high potential of local action in stimulating green economy and job creation. The current negotiations on the 2030 energy and climate framework are THE opportunity to set the course for a Europe which will stand at the forefront of secure and clean energy supply, decentralised, but stable energy infrastructure, smart cities and municipalities, innovative industry and social cohesion. So: let’s go for it!