Power masts and wind turbine stand for energy supply safety; source: BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

© BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

The European Commission has presented a comprehensive package of legislative proposals on energy policy, the 'Winter Package'. The legislative package comprises four Directives and four Regulations, including a proposal on better coordinating the national energy policies by means of harmonised national climate and energy plans ('Energy Union Governance Regulation'), a revised Energy Efficiency Directive, the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, a recast of the Renewable Energy Directive and a new European electricity market design. The package also is to implement the decisions of the European Council of October 2014 on the European 2030 climate and energy targets.

Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "I welcome the fact that the European Commission took an important step today to fundamentally reshape the European energy framework. More coordination and convergence of national energy policies on the basis of a stronger European internal market and an ambitious efficiency target of 30% by 2030 - this is the right way forward. The Commission's new European electricity market design moves in the right direction by taking up the fundamental German policy decision in favour of an electricity market 2.0: free price formation as stimulus for innovation and investment and more flexibility. It is also correct that security of supply will in the future no longer be regarded as a national task, but in a cross-border context. In a common, interconnected market we need fewer power plants and can thus save costs for consumers.

In other fields, however, the Winter Package is no real breakthrough. The proposal on the revised Renewable Energy Directive misses out on the opportunity to set out specific requirements for the national funding systems. A patchwork of individual authorisations is not sufficient to win the global race for the jobs of tomorrow.

Furthermore, we cannot deal with key policy issues regarding the implementation of the Energy Union merely at the technical level, i.e. in the context of 'network codes' or guidelines on competition law. The European Union is a major political project of the EU which needs to be openly discussed in the Council and in the European Parliament and decided upon at the political level. In this respect, a lot remains to be done."

You can find out more about the current German energy policy in the fortnightly Newsletter "Energiewende direkt".