By gathering the most up-to-date energy and climate-related news, policy updates, and events in a weekly document, the EERA Weekly Policy Update represents a comprehensive tool at the service of the EERA community.
Picking up from where we left off in November, the first policy roundup of 2022 is already packed with information on the latest developments coming from the EU institutions and beyond. During this first month of the year, the taxonomy has been subject to heated discussions, ignited by a leaked draft released on New Years’ eve of an amendment proposing to label both gas and nuclear as sustainable investments. The start of January also marked the beginning of the EU Council French presidency, assuming the role while the country is preparing for national presidential elections. All this is happening in the context of a spiralling energy crisis, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions at the Ukrainian borders.
As usual, the policy roundup gathers the main takeaways from the EERA Weekly Policy Update, which every week looks at the latest energy and R&I news from the European Institutions and other energy and climate-related information.
- On 26 November, EU Council ministers adopted conclusions on the governance of the European Research Area (ERA) after lengthy negotiations with stakeholders. Ministers also agreed on the Pact for Research and Innovation, a political guide to implementing the ERA.
- On 29 November, the European Commission launched a €2 billion “Clean Hydrogen Partnership”, succeeding the “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” (FCH JU), shifting hydrogen priorities away from mobility to industrial use, long-haul aviation, maritime shipping, back-ups for renewable energy and in large-scale heating grids.
- The European Commission launched the Global Gateway on 1 December, defined as “the new European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport in the world”, mobilising €300 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027.
- The Countries in the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) – (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway) and the European Commission signed a Political Declaration agreeing on key initiatives to accelerate the rate of cost-effective deployment of offshore renewable energy.
- Europe needs to build eleven new international research labs, calling for an additional €4 billion, according to the latest roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure, a steep increase from previous plans.
- On 15 December, the Commission adopted the gas market and hydrogen package – the legislative proposal aims to create the conditions for the uptake of renewable and low carbon gases, including hydrogen, while ensuring energy security.
- The European Commission unveiled the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings and new measures to boost the Renovation Wave – with the objective of boosting the renovation of public buildings across Europe.
- The European Commission adopted on 15 December a Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles - introducing actions to support the upscale of carbon farming and plans to develop an internal market for capturing, using and storing carbon.
- The EU institutions reached an agreement on new rules for the revamp of the Trans-European Network for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation – some of the key provisions increase focus on offshore grid cooperation, smart electricity grids, hydrogen networks and mandatory sustainability assessments.
- New Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy (CEEAG) aim to help Member States fulfil their green development foals, broadening the categories of investments and technologies that can be supported and accelerating an exit from coal.
- During the hydrogen week, EU’s transport commission, Adina Vălean, concluded that hydrogen is expected to fuel 17% of new trucks in 2030.
- On New Year’s Eve, a leaked draft revealed the Commission’s plan to propose an amendment to the taxonomy labelling certain nuclear and gas activities as green investments.
- On 1 January, France took over the rotating presidency of the Council, setting an ambitious agenda in terms of climate and energy goals, but amid a presidential election year.
- The European Commission issued guidelines to mitigate foreign interference in research and innovation over fear of technology espionage and in line with strategic priorities for Europe’s technological sovereignty.
- The Commission’s quarterly gas market report confirms wholesale gas prices in the EU rose to record levels in the third quarter of 2021, influenced by global gas markets. The same is true for the quarterly electricity report, with consumption returning to pre-pandemic levels.
- The EU Council has agreed on a Commission proposal to invest €1 billion in five cross-border infrastructure projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (ECF), with a large chunk of funds (€675 million) dedicated to completing the EuroAsia interconnection connecting Cyprus to the European grid.
- On 24 January, the European Commission advisory board of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance published an opinion criticising the inclusion of gas and nuclear in the green taxonomy, saying the criteria will not be enough to align the Taxonomy with the Green Deal goals.
- The European Commission adopted on 28 January an amendment of the energy statistics regulation, which means Eurostat will provide new statistics into inter alia hydrogen, decentralised production of electricity, large-scale batteries, detailed characteristics of heat pumps and closer monitoring of solar photovoltaic.
- On 2 February, the European Commission released the final draft of the taxonomy amendment. The EU Council and the Parliament have four months to review the draft and either accept or reject the proposal in full as they cannot make further amendments.