Select Committee on European Union Fourteenth Report


List of Recommendations

1. We recommend that the focus should be on risk management and the main tools should be diversity, flexibility and availability of backup, not central planning or self-sufficiency.

2. We recommend that the Commission's priorities be to complete a liberalised single market in energy, facilitate energy interconnections between Member States and to encourage stable investment conditions in producer countries.

3. We recommend that the Government and the Commission regard the threat of terrorist attack as further underlining the need to avoid over-dependence on any single energy facility or geographical source.

4. In general, liberalisation of energy markets promotes energy security. We therefore recommend that the United Kingdom Government and the Commission reinvigorate the process of liberalisation. In particular, effective access to electricity wires and gas pipelines and storage is essential.

5. We recommend that the Government and the Commission support and promote government-to-government dialogue with oil-producing countries but that such dialogue should aim at improving understanding between producer and consumer countries, not at managing oil prices.

6. We recommend that oil stocks be used within the International Energy Agency (IEA) arrangements to maintain supply during an emergency, not to stabilise prices.

7. We recommend that the Commission and national governments encourage research and development on issues relating to the public acceptability of nuclear power generation.

8. We recommend that the European Union should aim at least to retain its present proportion of nuclear power generation and should examine what is necessary to achieve this.

9. We recommend that the Commission undertake a study of the options designed to ensure a comparable level of energy security in all Member States.

10. We recommend that European Union Member States be required to have comparable standards of emergency preparedness in relation to gas emergencies, to ensure that gas flows are not interrupted.

11. We recommend that faster progress be made towards full market liberalisation, rather than rely on very large long-term contracts, to help create the conditions for the substantial investments needed in producing countries. The Commission must continue to encourage gas interconnections and inter-operability between Member States so that a larger, effective market is created.

12. We recommend that Europe avoid handicapping coal unnecessarily in view of its contribution to energy security. The focus of European support for coal in future should be the development of clean coal technologies, not support for unprofitable coal mines.

13. We recommend that the United Kingdom Government and the European Union encourage investment in renewable energy sources but recognise that they cannot rely on renewable energy sources excessively as a major contribution to the environmental security challenges in the energy sector.

14. Whilst it is not a primary source of energy, we recommend that European Union Member States and the Commission should keep the electricity regulatory system under review to ensure that it promotes security of supply.

15. We recommend that the United Kingdom Government and the European Union should continue to promote energy efficiency but without assuming that it will lead to greater security of supply

16. We recommend that the European Union's R&D be designed to support energy policy objectives, including the development of energy efficiency, renewables, and carbon sequestration.

17. We recommend that the Commission and Member States should treat both energy security and environmental objectives as important without allowing either to dominate.

18. We recommend that the Government should encourage other Member States to move in the direction of taxation that reflects the environmental impact of energy use. But this should be an agreement between Member States acting collectively on this specific policy issue; we do not accept the case for Community legislation to achieve this objective.

19. We recommend that there should be a mandatory storage capacity obligation on companies supplying gas to United Kingdom customers.

20. We recommend that as a matter of urgency, the Government examine whether gas stocks are as tight as suggested by some of the evidence and report its findings to Parliament

21. We recommend that the Government use its influence to bring about the establishment of inter-governmental agreements to ensure that there are common infrastructure standards.

22. We recommend, therefore, that the Government look closely to determine what means it has to ensure that new terminals are so sited as to increase the diversity and flexibility of the infrastructure.

23. We recommend that Government should maintain the United Kingdom's present ability to produce no less than 20 per cent of United Kingdom electricity demand from nuclear power generation, and proceed as a matter of urgency to agree a method of dealing with nuclear waste and an appropriate planning policy for new nuclear power stations on existing sites.

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