No Country is an Energy Island: Securing Investment for the EU's Future - European Union Committee Contents


The EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Carter of Coles, is conducting an inquiry into EU energy: decarbonising and boosting growth. The Sub-Committee seeks evidence from anyone with an interest.

Written evidence is sought by 3 October 2012. Public hearings will be held over the period October 2012-February 2013. The Committee aims to report to the House, with recommendations, in May 2013. The report will receive responses from the Government and the European Commission, and may be debated in the House.

In October 2011, the European Commission published an Energy Roadmap to 2050.[364] It explores the challenges posed by decarbonisation in the context of ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness. The Roadmap emphasises the critical importance of energy efficiency and a switch to renewable energy resources, with gas playing a key role in the transition.

The EU has set itself the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 over 1990 levels. Energy has a pivotal role to play in that transition. Energy is core to every sector of economic life, including households and manufacturing. As the EU seeks to recover economically and to drive forward growth, energy policy is crucial.

We will seek to establish how energy can both be decarbonised and contribute to the EU's economic recovery. We are interested to examine too whether consumer preferences over the energy mix, such as onshore wind and nuclear power, may have implications for prices.

We will make policy recommendations to the Commission and Member States, including the UK, accordingly. At this stage of our inquiry, we are interested in comments covering all forms of energy. We seek views on natural gas particularly, due to the central role afforded to it by the Commission as critical for the transformation of our energy system. Research and innovation are highlighted in the Roadmap and we wish to include them in our study. Our inquiry is focused on energy supply but we recognise that submissions may wish to comment on demand and energy efficiency issues insofar as they affect energy supply.

The Sub-Committee seeks evidence on any aspect of this topic, and particularly on the following questions:

Energy's contribution to economic growth

(1)  The dominant theme of the Commission's Energy 2050 Roadmap is decarbonisation, with a particular focus on renewables. How can energy policy make its contribution to both decarbonisation and to economic growth? In what specific ways can energy drive economic growth in the EU?

A common EU approach to transforming the energy system

(2)  To what extent will a common European approach help keep the costs of transforming the energy system down and assure security of EU energy supply? Where do you see economic growth and decarbonisation benefitting from a common approach to generation, transmission, distribution and storage? And what are the risks?

The Internal Market in Energy

(3)  The internal market in energy is focused on transmission. Should competition in the rest of the supply chain be given greater consideration? What economic opportunities might arise from such consideration? What risks arise?

Reducing the costs of energy for business and consumers

(4)  Energy is a significant manufacturing input and household cost. Is it appropriate to seek to reduce the costs of energy in order to boost EU competitiveness and, if so, how can it be achieved in addition to energy efficiency? To what extent might price reductions jeopardise attempts to decarbonise? What implications, if any, do consumer preferences over the energy mix, such as onshore wind and nuclear power, have for price?


(5)  Do you agree with the Commission that "Gas will be critical for the transformation of the energy system", until at least 2030 or 2035? What mechanisms are required to boost the role of gas, securing appropriate investments, but on the proposed interim basis? Does an active renewables policy require gas in support of it? Should the EU encourage the development of unconventional gas?

Research and innovation

(6)  We would welcome views on how the EU can most effectively support research and innovation as catalysts for decarbonising energy and driving growth, and how EU energy policy can be sufficiently flexible to take into account emerging new technologies.

364   COM(2011) 885 Back

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