"Energy transition pathways - what has the war in Ukraine changed?" - under this title, a debate organised by Euractiv in cooperation with the Polish Electricity Committee (PKEE) took place in Brussels on 8 February 2023. It was attended by European Union officials, Members of the European Parliament, as well as representatives of research institutes.
During the high-level discussion, its participants - Eero Ailio, Energy Transition and Local Governance Advisor at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), Radan Kanev, MEP, member of the European Parliament's ENVI Committee, rapporteur for the ENVI opinion on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive; Andreas Graf, Senior Associate for European Energy Policy at Agora Energiewende; and Wanda Buk, member of the PKEE Governing Board and Vice President of the Management Board for Regulation at PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. - discussed, among other things, how the objectives of the European Union take into account the different starting points of the Member States. They also discussed the current geopolitical situation and the role that the upcoming reform of the electricity market can play in enhancing energy security. In addition, the speakers agreed that the emergency measures that the Union has adopted to enable Member States to reduce price signals in wholesale electricity markets should not be extended.
Eero Ailio, advisor at DG ENER, acknowledged that solidarity and austerity go hand in hand in the face of the energy crisis. - When we asked Member States to act in solidarity and reduce their gas demand, they did so, he stressed. - Although we are not out of the woods yet, we are now in a situation where we need to move from crisis measures to more structural solutions, he added.
Commenting on the statement, MEP Radan Kanev indicated that we should expect at least a decade of turbulence in the energy market. This situation requires the preparation of plans for recovery and increasing resilience in Europe. - We therefore need to keep some reserves for security and keep open the possibility of extracting energy resources as well as producing electricity - which is not always an easy option, he explained.
Wanda Buk, Vice President of the Management Board of PGE, Member of the Governing Board of PKEE, pointed out that from her point of view, in the process of looking for ways to solve the energy market crisis, the EU addressed the wrong problem. - While we were experiencing peak gas prices, which strongly affected the electricity market, the EU did not address the cause that led us to such a situation. From my perspective, the EU has focused on the wrong issue," she explained. - The energy crisis is primarily caused by the crisis in the energy fuel markets and not by the wrong energy market architecture. Furthermore, I would like to point out that there are still unresolved problems with the EU ETS. The EU ETS affects the liquidity of energy companies on a daily basis. Less liquidity in turn affects the ability to realise investments in the green transition. Our proposal is to support companies by implementing the option to cover the purchase of allowances with state guarantees, she added.
During the discussion, Eero Ailio pointed out that the crisis shows that we need to go one step further and reform the electricity market. - The creation of the internal market was a big step forward, but the solution has reached its end. The results the market achieved last year were technically correct, but certainly socially unacceptable, he stressed.
In response to this statement, President Buk explained that the PKEE is in favour of a rather narrow, considered and cautious reform of the EU electricity market. - It is surprising, however, that distribution issues were addressed so little in the consultation survey. This element should be one of the priorities, as imposing ambitious permitting deadlines is not enough to address bottlenecks in the development of the distribution network, she added.
Event page: https://events.euractiv.com/event/info/energy-transition-paths-what-has-the-war-in-ukraine-changed
The report "Poland's energy transition path: https://pkee.pl/en/publications/raport-ey-i-pkee-polska-sciezka-transformacji-energetycznej/