12/13 November 2012 in Paris, France
If we consider two dates: 1951 with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and 1957, the signing of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom): we see that the very foundations of Europe rely on energy procurement. In 2007 the Treaty of Lisbon (cf. Title XXI, art.194 ) consolidated the emergence of an autonomous European Union policy on Energy. Notwithstanding, the Para.2 of the same Article stipulates that “Such measures shall not affect a Member State’s right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply, …/…”.
This paradox throws light not only on the extraordinary diversity of energy resources in Europe, but also on the energy independence of the Member States, in terms of procurement/supply.
Today, only 5 years after the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, we readily recognize the very large degree of heterogeneity of energy procurement strategies followed by the 27 Member States. If Europe wants to be an economically competitive actor, if Europe wants to preserve the social and environmental quality of life of its populations, it has to define its medium and long term strategies to preserve its energy security and to assure its energy independence.
It was in this perspective that Euro-CASE , a federation of 21 national academies, with some 6 000 Fellows coming from many professional sectors, with wide-ranging skills – scientists, engineers, technologists, economists … decided to organise its annual 2012 conference on the thematic “ Energy independence for Europe”.
The Conference organisers present the conclusions and recommendations of the 2012 Conference.
Faced, as we are in Europe, with the complexity of the energy source mix and the demand for energy, in terms of both territories and individual persons, households, Euro-CASE observes that there is a lack of coherency in Europe’s energy policy. Euro-CASE emphasises the urgency to attain such coherency and to collectively organise sustainable future energy management. Consequently, Euro-CASE issues three main recommendations to national and European political decision-makers.
1// Euro-CASE underscores the fact that Europe will rely, over the coming decades, on an increasingly complex energy mix, implying installation of multiple infrastructures to handle the growing number of inter-connections that alone represent high-level, long-term investments. Renewable energy sources, notably, will require new inter-connections. Implementing such new connection networks will have a structuring effect on Society itself, with subsequent, deep-reaching societal modifications, generating new problems of acceptability. Moreover, these infrastructures must also connect into the international grids. Today, Europe has no tools at its disposal to enable assessment of the various energy sources in a comparative, integrated manner. Consequently, given that today we are faced with the intrinsic diversity of the energy mix and the complexity of the inter-connections, it is urgent that an in-depth analysis of the European energy system be conducted, for the purpose of identifying the comparative advantages of the various energies that will be produced in Europe. This audit should examine the European energy system with all its component ingredients: costs, GHG emissions, industrial policies … the results should allow the analysts to identify, within the bounds of the European energy mix – intermittent renewable energies, bio-sourced energies, conventional and non-conventional fossil fuel energies, those sources that prove the most attractive and which should be developed and produced in Europe. The audit should cover questions of quantity, levels of investment needed, impact on the environment, job creation and impact on industrial competitivity. Given the degree of incoherency of the current system, it is both inevitable and urgent that the proposed audit of Europe’s energy policy be implemented, all the more so that we can observe the development of new national agendas that could well exacerbate the incoherency already noted. Euro-CASE agrees with the need for such an audit and is determined to play its part.
2// Energy efficiency is one of the main levers that can help reduce the energy dependence of Europe. Attaining higher efficiency calls for the development of an intelligent or “smart” demand. Indeed, one of the major problems to be solved relates to peak consumption periods and energy over-production. It is by acting on energy demand level that, on one hand, we can absorb the over-production – via decentralised energy storage, including in the form of heat (heat networks) and, on the other, to smooth the consumption peaks, which leads to very large investment outlays. In order to create and establish a smart demand, the target will be those cities that have an excellent, power use granularity, designed in essence to “consume less energy and do so better, at a competitive price”, in short, be more efficient, emitting less greenhouse gases. Euro-CASE recommends that the authorities support development of a ‘smart’ demand plan for all the actors in the city: to achieve this, we must create intelligent territories, i.e., those with the capability to develop the technical systems to store the power produced – development of renewable energy sources will prove per se to be an enormous engineering science challenge; it will require “smart metering” systems to be deployed, that can intervene on demand and smooth consumption peaks; lastly, information and training must be made available for the future “smart consumers”, so that they can be ready to participate in establishing a smart informed demand profile.
3// Seeking energy efficiency provides a wonderful opportunity to secure both economic development and technological innovation. Notwithstanding, all technological innovations constitute socio-economic and cultural constructions. All innovations, especially those involving a breakthrough, whether in a novel technology or in organisation – faces a priori objections, or prejudice. As far as energy is concerned, the personal feelings expressed by European citizens vary to a large extent from country to country, no matter what sort of energy source is involved: nuclear power, combustion of coal or shale oil, photovoltaic panels … But a truly European energy policy, whatever its formulation, presupposes not only consent from the citizens, but also their active participation, as was said above. For these reasons, it is advisable to measure the level of acceptance or rejection, before making any political decisions in the field, viz., to asses the level of prejudice to be expected. For this reason, Euro-CASE recommends that a wide-scale enquiry be launched to ascertain clearly the energy-related expectations of European citizens that would help measure the efforts that remain to be undertaken in terms of information and training so that the citizens concerned can come to a better, more informed assessment of the energy options that they can take. Euro-CASE, in its position as an independent organisation expresses the desire to participate fully in this debate.
1. (excerpt Treaty of Lisbon) TITLE XXI, ENERGY Article 194 In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market and with regard for the need to preserve and improve the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, to: (a) ensure the functioning of the energy market; (b) ensure security of energy suapply in the Union; (c) promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and (d) promote the interconnection of energy networks. 2. …/… Euro-CASE web site and in fine – cf www.euro-case.org