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Energy ministers to discuss the role of system integration in achieving EU climate objectives

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
11.12.2020 11.04 | Published in English on 4.1.2021 at 11.41
Press release
Elinkeinoministeri Mika Lintilä

EU energy ministers will discuss energy system integration from the perspective of upcoming legislative proposals and energy targets at an informal ministerial meeting on 14 December 2020. Finland’s representative at the video meeting will be Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.

The meeting will replace the Energy Council, which will not be held this year due to the coronavirus situation. No decisions will be made at the informal meeting. The conclusions originally planned for approval by the Energy Council will be discussed separately in the Council’s written procedure.

As a basis for the discussion, the German Presidency will ask the ministers to share their views on the possible tightening of the EU’s energy targets by 2030 and the regulatory reforms considered priorities for system integration.

“Building a climate neutral energy system requires many innovative solutions and a combination of different forms of energy use. The EU must invest extensively in solutions that promote the climate objectives without selecting the winning technologies in advance,” says Minister Mika Lintilä.

“We need a broad range of different energy technologies in order to achieve the ambitious climate objectives. For this reason, the EU must safeguard the right of each Member State to choose the emission-free energy sources that are best suited to them,” Minister Lintilä adds.

In July, the Commission published a strategy on the EU’s energy system integration. In its background paper, Germany refers to the proposed strategy measures that will help promote a low-carbon approach and integration of the energy market. Germany also makes a reference to the Commission’s legislative package on climate and energy policy (Fit for 55). It is possible that the new legislative proposals on energy efficiency and renewable energy will form a part of this package.

Finland endorses the use of the energy integration strategy in the planning of the EU’s energy policy and the policies in other sectors too. Finland supports a more ambitious climate policy and the proposal to raise the EU’s 2030 emission reduction target to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.

Raising the 2030 target also requires a review of energy legislation, because energy use plays a key role in achieving the emission reduction target. In this regard, Finland considers it important that the Commission carries out comprehensive impact assessments for the basis of the review. The impact assessments should include evaluations specific to each Member State.

The scope of the legislative review should be carefully considered, because the implementation of earlier Directives in the Member States is still ongoing. In Finland’s opinion, the most important instrument for promoting renewable energy and low-carbon solutions is EU-wide emissions trading.  The Energy Efficiency Directive should focus primarily on actual energy efficiency, instead of limiting total energy consumption, which may even hinder the widespread introduction of low-emission integrated solutions.

The scope of the legislative review should be carefully considered, because the implementation of earlier Directives in the Member States is still ongoing. In Finland’s opinion, the most important instrument for promoting renewable energy and low-carbon solutions is EU-wide emissions trading. The Energy Efficiency Directive should focus primarily on actual energy efficiency, instead of limiting total energy consumption, which may even hinder the introduction of low-emission power-to-x solutions.

Electrification will play a key role in energy system integration, which requires a sufficient supply of clean energy. According to Finland, legislation needs to be predictable so that the significant investments needed to achieve climate objectives can be realised. It is important that the EU develops and utilises low-carbon energy solutions in a technology-neutral way.

Inquiries:
Riku Huttunen, Director-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 6518
Nina Alatalo, Adviser to Minister (EU and International Affairs), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 8015
Eero Karjalainen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 501 7746 (EU energy coordination within the Ministry)
Ville Niemi, Senior Specialist, Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU, Brussels, tel. +32 479 470 175

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