New Challenges in Energy Efficiency in the European Union: A Consumer Perspective
23 Pages Posted: 12 May 2017
Date Written: May 12, 2017
In November 2016, the European Commission presented an ambitious package of measures for a consumer centred clean energy transition with a central objective of cutting CO2 emissions in the EU by at least 40% by 2030. The proposals had three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers. The aim of this paper is to focus on two aspects of the consumer side of this package: how the market is envisaged to work for consumers in general and the protections which are envisaged for consumers in vulnerable circumstances and those at risk of energy poverty.
It is often said that there are three main objectives in energy policy: security of supply, protection of the environment and affordability and that this creates a “regulatory trilemma” because policies to achieve one policy can undermine the objectives of another policy. This paper argues that the Commission’s prioritisation of energy efficiency and the development of renewables is likely to make energy more expensive. There are proposals in the package aimed at ensuring better consumer engagement with the energy market but this paper argues, based on the experience of the UK market, it is unclear that these will work effectively without further policy development. Although the package recognises the position of the energy poor and consumers in vulnerable circumstances there are no supporting proposals which would address their position.
Keywords: European Commission, emissions, energy policy, renewable energies, development
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