‘People’ to take centre stage in EU Commission’s new energy policy

(EurActiv, 5 Dec 2019) “People, planet and partnerships” will be the three pillars of the European Commission’s energy policy over the next five years, said Kadri Simson, the EU’s recently-appointed Energy Commissioner, announcing a “massive renovation wave” to tackle energy poverty.

Next week, the European Commission is expected to lay out its plans for a European Green Deal, an agenda designed to bring the EU’s economy to net-zero emissions by 2050.

All sectors of the economy will be asked to contribute, including transport, buildings and agriculture – where emissions continue to grow. But energy will play a central role, as it is responsible for more than 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, Simson said.

Outlining her priorities to EU energy ministers in Brussels yesterday (4 December), the Estonian official said “three pillars will carry the weight of the energy transition: people, planet and partners.”

“The first pillar is the people,” Simson said, arguing Europe won’t be able to achieve climate neutrality unless it can show “tangible benefits” for consumers, households, and SMEs.

Tackling energy poverty will be a key priority in this context, she indicated, saying up to 50 million Europeans are currently unable to properly heat their homes.

“We need to trigger a massive renovation wave,” Simson said, echoing comments from Commission first vice president Frans Timermans who promised a large-scale building renovation programme during his confirmation hearing in Parliament last month.

The objective, Simson said, is to “triple the existing rate of renovations,” of buildings, which  currently stands at about 1- 2% of the building stock renovated each year.

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EurActiv, 5 Dec 2019: ‘People’ to take centre stage in EU Commission’s new energy policy