The European energy sector faces great challenges: The safeguarding of supply for future generations and the therewith associated high investment requirement, climate and environmental protection, the safeguarding of European competitiveness – competitive energy prices for companies, as well as affordable energy prices for household customers, to name just a few.
That energy issues are becoming increasingly significant in European politics is a fact that is also illustrated by the "Treaty of Lisbon": here, energy policy was declared an EU priority in December 2009. Even if the method of energy generation continues to falls under the jurisdiction of the member states, European coordination is becoming increasingly important.
The Goals of the EU
The great importance of the energy policy is also expressed within the framework of the European Union’s strategic policy approach for the present decade, the so-called “EU Strategy 2010”. A significant part of this strategic policy paper is concerned with how the 20-20-20 goals are to be reached within the climate and energy sector: 20 % fewer CO2 emissions, 20 % more energy efficiency and a 20 % share of renewable energy sources for the entire end energy consumption in the EU – it is intended that these goals be reached by 2020.
Only through a coordinated approach by all EU member states will it be possible to fulfil these ambitious objectives; going it alone on a national level hampers the path to a common internal energy market. From the perspective of the EU institutions, the development of the EU energy infrastructure is thereby accorded the utmost priority. In future, in order to transport electricity from renewable energy carriers to the centres of consumption, it is not only strong and reliable grids that are required – but also “smart” ones as well. An integration of the volatile production from renewable energy carriers, such as wind and sun, is complex and demands flexible buffer capacities, which are able to supply electricity to the grid in the short term, but are also able to accommodate large load volumes – and it is here that VERBUND’s pumped storage power plants play an important role.
Stable framework conditions, which fund the necessary investments, are the basic prerequisite for attaining the set goals. VERBUND is therefore campaigning for the goals set by the EU institutions to be put into practice and is taking an active part in discussions surrounding the future of the European energy policy. To this end, VERBUND opened an office in Brussels in 2009. Networking in situ and participation in the consultation mechanisms of the European institutions are an integral part of our understanding of European issues.