For a real Europe of energy!
French MEP Christophe Grudler (MoDem) is the author of a report on the integration of energy systems in the European Union. A major transition challenge.
This week your report on the integration of European energy systems is being voted on. What does it involve?
My report on the integration of energy systems in the European Union takes stock of the functioning of energy networks in Europe and proposes ways to improve them.
In Europe, energy does not stop at borders: we already have many interconnections with our neighbours, both for electricity and gas.
And European interconnections are very important: if there is a shortage of energy in one country - for example because there is a lack of wind for wind power - with proper interconnections, it is possible to import energy easily from another country, instead of starting up polluting gas turbines for example.
The aim of the report is therefore to identify what could be improved in European energy management and to suggest solutions. This report also has a direct resonance with the European Green Pact, which plans to transform all European legislation and funding to make it greener.
In a few words, what are the main recommendations of your report?
The first recommendation is to call for the optimisation and decarbonisation of energy systems. Let us not forget that the best energy is always the one that is not wasted!
It is therefore the theme of energy efficiency that is at the centre of our considerations. Investing in low-carbon energies such as renewable energies is good. But optimising the networks to avoid wasting this energy is even better!
Alongside this efficiency issue, the question of the balance of energy systems is also essential. When we talk about balance, we are thinking in particular of avoiding blackouts, when the network is no longer able to manage a gap between energy demand and production that is too large.
Balancing the networks becomes even more of a challenge with the arrival of renewable energies, which are intermittent by nature, and where it is therefore necessary to compensate: for example with European interconnections, but also by implementing storage solutions. These would make it possible to stop losing renewable energy when it is produced in abundance.
Furthermore, we have not forgotten to take into account new energies, such as hydrogen. This will be very useful for decarbonising polluting sectors such as transport or heavy industry, which it is not always possible to electrify.
However, we are aware of the importance of guaranteeing cheap energy to all French and Europeans, and the report recalls that a real "Energy Europe" can achieve this objective of more affordable energy.
Finally, the report underlines the growing role of innovation in the balance of the networks: new solutions are emerging such as digitalisation: demand can be adjusted to production, it becomes more flexible. Advances in space technology also make it easier to anticipate fluctuations in energy demand: Europe is at the forefront in collecting and using satellite data!
What are the next steps after this adoption in the Parliamentary Committee?
After this vote in my ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) Committee, the text will be voted in plenary by the 705 MEPs, probably in April.
All the recommendations in my report will then be studied by the European Commission, which may use them as a basis for proposing new energy legislation or amending existing EU regulations.
The ultimate goal is to have better, greener, more efficient and above all affordable energy management in Europe. And I think these proposals will go a long way to achieving that!