Position paper: Powering up a sustainable and fair energy transition in Europe

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 17 March 2021

A rapid, fair and broad energy system transition is the only solution for a successful post-COVID recovery guided by the principles of the EU Green Deal, and for Europe to achieve its objective of becoming the first climate-neutral continent (in 2050).

Europe's Clean Energy Package, adopted in December 2018, included a revised ‘Renewable Energy Directive’ (RED II). In line with the priorities of the Green Deal and the objective to achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, the Commission will soon table a ‘Fit for 55 package to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

ICLEI Europe welcomes the planned revision of RED II by the European Commission and sees it as an unprecedented opportunity to solidify and amplify the measures already foreseen, while strengthening the provisions to reach a 38% to 40% renewable energy share of gross final energy consumption by 2030.

Local and regional governments operate at a level closest to European citizens, but are also responsible for implementing 70% of all EU legislation, one-third of public spending, and two-thirds of public investment. Their capability to support and leverage the full potential of their communities will therefore play a crucial role in meeting the EU’s objectives.

ICLEI Europe has articulated its position in a new position paper that address the upcoming revisions to RED II. In summary, it calls for revisions centred around four key principles:

  1. Leveraging multi-level governance and horizontal integration of policies;
  2. Shifting focus from defining ambitions to scaling up action on the ground;
  3. Fostering cross-sectoral approaches by promoting integrated planning and action;
  4. Raising ambitions by stepping up support to local and regional governments, including financial and capacity-building support.

The position paper lays out specific recommendations for European legislators, which speak to each of these four principles.

These include recommending effective and mandatory multi-level governance platforms for structured consultation that facilitate vertical and horizontal integration of policies and measures; encouraging specific targets for community-owned Renewable Energy Sources (RES); providing succinct guidelines with clear definitions, targets, monitoring systems and streamlined administrative procedures, adaptable to national contexts; supporting incentivising models for electricity and thermal energy sharing; and investment in prosumer technologies.

Read the full position paper here.

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