Energy: Security of energy supply – European Commission

Having a secure supply of energy is crucial for the well-being of European citizens and the economy. The EU works to ensure that energy supplies are uninterrupted and energy prices remain stable.

European Energy Security Strategy

In response to the political crisis in Ukraine and the overall importance of a stable and abundant supply of energy for the EU’s citizens and economy, the European Commission has released an EU energy security strategy on 28 May 2014. This strategy is based on an in-depth study of Member States’ energy dependence.

Short-term measures

In the short-term, the strategy proposes that the Commission launch energy security stress tests to simulate a disruption in the gas supply for the coming winter. The aim of these stress tests is to check how our energy system can cope with security of supply risks, and to develop emergency plans and back-up mechanisms which may include:

Increasing gas stocks.

Developing emergency infrastructure such as reverse flows.

Reducing short-term energy demand.

Switching to alternative fuels.

These stress tests should serve as the basis for strengthening existing European emergency and solidarity mechanisms. The EU should also engage with its international partners to develop new solidarity mechanisms for natural gas and the use of gas storage facilities.

Medium to long-term challenges

In addition to the proposed short term measures, the strategy addresses medium and long-term security of supply challenges. It proposes actions in five key areas:

Increasing energy efficiency and reaching the proposed 2030 energy and climate goals. Priorities in this area should focus on buildings and industry which use 40 % and 25 % of total EU energy, respectively. It is also important to help consumers lower their energy consumption, for example with clear billing information and smart energy meters.

Increasing energy production in the EU and diversifying supplier countries and routes. This includes further deployment of renewables, sustainable production of fossil fuels, and safe nuclear where the option is chosen. It also entails negotiating effectively with current major energy partners such as Russia, Norway, or Saudi Arabia, as well as new partners such as countries in the Caspian Basin region.

Completing the internal energy market and building missing infrastructure links to quickly respond to supply disruptions and re-direct energy across the EU to where it is needed.

Speaking with one voice in external energy policy, including having Member States inform the Commission early-on with regards to planned agreements with third countries which may affect the EU’s security of supply.

Strengthening emergency and solidarity mechanisms and protecting critical infrastructure. This includes more coordination between Member States to use existing storage facilities, develop reverse flows, conduct risk assessments and put in place security of supply plans at regional and EU level.

Related documents

European Energy Security Strategy [COM(2014)330]

In-depth study of European Energy Security [SWD(2014)330] [7 MB]   (updated 07/07/2014)

Press release “Commission puts forward comprehensive strategy to strengthen security of supply” [IP/14/606]

Press memo “Questions and answers on security of energy supply in the EU” [MEMO/14/379]

Background

The EU is highly dependent on energy from abroad, importing 53% of all the energy it consumes at a cost of more than one billion euros per day. This includes:

88% of its crude oil

66% of its natural gas

42% of its solid fuels such as coal

95% of its uranium.

Figures such as these mean that the EU can be vulnerable to external energy shocks. Many Member States are heavily reliant on a single supplier including six who are entirely dependent on Russia for their natural gas. Three Member States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – also rely on a single external operator for the operation and balancing of their electricity network, and for a large share of their electricity supply.

The serious nature of these dependencies was brought to the forefront during the winter gas shortages in 2006 and 2009, and more recently by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Responding to the events in Ukraine, the European Council of March 2014 called on the Commission to conduct an in-depth study on European energy security and to present a comprehensive plan on how to reduce EU energy dependence. This plan will be discussed during the European Council on 26-27 June.

 

via Energy: Security of energy supply – European Commission.