EU unveils blueprint for a more efficient energy system
JULY 9, 2020 - euractiv

The European Commission on Wednesday (8 July) unveiled its “energy system integration strategy” which aims to link different energy carriers, infrastructure and consumption sectors together in order to boost renewables and reduce carbon emissions.

The strategy aims to achieve deep decarbonisation at the “lowest possible costs” by minimising waste and using the relative strengths of different energy carriers such as electricity and decarbonised gases.

A quick and cost-effective decarbonisation requires a more integrated approach to planning and operating Europe’s energy system, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said as he presented the strategy on Wednesday (8 July).

“In fact, we need to complete an overhaul of the current energy system which is quickly becoming a relic of the past,” Timmermans said.

“Today’s energy system is still built on several parallel, vertical energy value chains, which rigidly link specific energy resources with specific end-use sectors,” the policy document explains.

This is “way too wasteful and way too rigid to be fit for a sustainable future,” Timmermans said, describing a future energy system which is more agile and able to switch seamlessly across different energy carriers to achieve deeper emissions cuts in sectors like transport and industry, which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

“We need to break the silos between separate flows of energy production and use,” said Timmermans, adding that “we need to stop transferring the wrong energy carriers in the wrong way to end-users”.

Such an integrated energy system would rest on three pillars, the document states.

A more circular energy system, with energy efficiency at its core,
greater direct electrification of end-use sectors like transport and buildings, and
using renewable and low-carbon fuels like hydrogen for end-use applications like cement or steelmaking where direct heating or electrification is not feasible.

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