As proclaimed by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic, 2017 was the “Year of Delivery” for the Energy Union. Much debate centred on the Clean Energy Package, the biggest EU legislative package on climate and energy in history, which will set the common EU rules for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, progress was made on the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which improves carbon pricing in Europe by making it easier to cancel allowances and stabilise prices, and on the new Effort Sharing Regulation, which sets national limits for emissions that are not covered by the ETS while preserving a basic level of environmental integrity.
The EU legislative process is a major focus for ECF grantees as it is the place where European solutions for increasing clean energy investments are being debated. Given its importance, many ECF partners were involved in 2017, from campaigning NGOs like CAN-Europe, WWF and Carbon Market Watch to policy advisors like E3G, Agora Energiewende, IDDRI, Ecologic Institute, RAP, BPIE and CISL.
Despite progress on all these files, the core problem remains that they assume a level of EU ambition that is incompatible with the Paris Agreement. The EU’s stated ambition of a 27% share of renewable energy by 2030, for instance, is insufficient to accelerate the pace of clean energy investments in line with a long-term trajectory of well below 2oC. In 2017, the ECF and its grantees prepared the ground to make this gap visible and make the case for higher ambition in Europe to 2030 and beyond. ECF grantees helped make the case for stronger clean energy targets, opposition to coal subsidies and the use of EU funds for strategic energy infrastructure on electricity rather than natural-gas projects.