The European Commission adopted a 'Communication on Energy Prices' on Wednesday to tackle the sharp spike in global energy prices, which it says may last through the winter.
The Communication includes a “toolbox” that the EU and its member states can use to address the immediate impact of current price increases and further strengthen resilience against future shocks. It also allows for a coordinated response to protect those most at risk, the Commission says.
Short-term national measures include emergency income support to households, state aid for companies, and targeted tax reductions. The Commission will also support investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, examine possible measures on energy storage and the purchase of gas reserves, and assess the current electricity market design.
“Rising global energy prices are a serious concern for the EU. As we emerge from the pandemic and begin our economic recovery, it is important to protect vulnerable consumers and support European companies,' Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, who presented the toolbox, was quoted as saying.
She noted that other medium-term measures have been identified to ensure the EU energy system is more resilient and more flexible to withstand any future volatility throughout the transition.
- Situation is expected to stabilize in spring
The Commission advised that priority be given to targeted measures that can rapidly mitigate the impact of price rises for vulnerable consumers and small businesses, elaborating that these measures should be easily adjustable in the spring when the situation is expected to stabilize.
It stressed that the EU's long-term transition and investments in cleaner energy sources should not be disrupted.
'The clean energy transition is the best insurance against price shocks in the future, and needs to be accelerated. The EU will continue to develop an efficient energy system with high share of renewable energy,' the Commission said.
Drawing attention to the importance of storage, the Commission asserted that the EU currently has storage capacity for more than 20% of its annual gas use. But not all member states have storage facilities and their use and obligations to maintain them vary.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu