As highlighted in the Commission Communication on the 2020 Energy Strategy, the life blood of EU society and the well-being of people, industry and economy depend on safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy. To achieve these goals, the EU is facing significant challenges with both external and internal dimensions in view of the urgency to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from energy sources, to complete the energy internal market, to protect consumers, to ensure security of supply in response to increasing energy dependency and global instability, and to improve the security of EU energy production. These challenges are now laid down in the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 194(1) of the TFEU provides the basis for the EU to develop a more strategic and harmonised EU energy policy in order to tackle these challenges, including through legislative responses.
Since 2011 Milieu has been working on a variety of projects in this area, supporting, inter alia, the Commission, the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions in the design and the implementation of the EU energy policy.
Some examples of Milieu’s work in this field are:
The face of the energy market is changing, with challenges such as climate change and the need for energy security driving the Union to adopt a cleaner, smarter and more flexible energy policy. In this context, the line between energy producers and energy consumers is becoming less clear and residential prosumers are emerging as important players in energy markets. Enabling this transition requires supportive policy and legislative frameworks.
In December 2018, the European Union adopted the “Clean Energy Package for all Europeans” and for the first time formally recognised consumers as energy producers. Milieu contributed to the background work that led to the Clean Energy Package, with a study providing an in-depth overview on the legal and regulatory context for residential prosumers in 30 countries. The study identified incentives for and obstacles to local energy production and best practices at the Member State level. The work, carried-out in partnership with GfK, Cambridge Econometrics and COWI, has supported work to the enabling conditions for the residential prosumers, adapting policy and regulations to accommodate the needs of a fast-changing energy market.
Energy efficiency is considered as a strategic priority within the EU to address the issues of energy security and energy sector greenhouse gas emissions; using energy more efficiently can help lower emissions of greenhouse gases while also reducing consumers’ energy. In this context, the EU adopted a Directive on Energy Efficiency in 2012, setting energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030.
Milieu was tasked with assisting the European Commission with verifying the compliance of national legislative measures implementing the Energy Efficiency Directive for the 28 Member States.
Milieu also helped DG Energy to continue its work on the transposition and implementation of the Directive during the 2016-2018 period, in light of new legislation and implementation initiatives adopted by the Member States, as well as information exchanged through EU pilot projects. Under this project, Milieu provided constant up-to-date analysis for each Member State on the transposition and implementation of the Directive.
Securing energy supply is about ensuring the continuous and adequate supply of energy to users. In its 2014 Energy Security Strategy, the Commission noted that one of the major risks to energy supply security in the EU is the control of strategic infrastructure by non-EU entities from key supplier countries. To address this risk, several Member States have developed methods to control foreign investment in key sectors, including energy. This is achieved through direct State ownership or de facto control of critical energy infrastructure, investment screening laws, ownership restrictions, and golden shares.
Milieu carried out a study on the review of national rules for the protection of infrastructure relevant for the security of supply. This study first describes the gas and electricity infrastructures relevant for the security of supply in Member States and identifies whether foreign investment in such infrastructures is considered by Member States as a risk and why. Then the study analyses in detail the legal and policy instruments adopted by Member States and selected third countries to protect energy infrastructures from, inter alia, energy security risks related to foreign ownership/foreign investment in these infrastructures (e.g. prohibition of foreign investment, ownership limits for private investors, state ownership control by law, screening mechanisms, golden shares). The report mapped legal frameworks in all Member States and in five selected third countries (Australia, Canada, China, United States and Russia).