”. . .the most ambitious European project since the formation of the coal and steel community.”1 Energy Union for Europe, launched in February of this year, is a new EU initiative aimed at formulating an integrated European energy strategy that covers security and diversification of supply, energy efficiency, decarbonization (renewables), innovation and the internal energy market. The announcement on 25 February 2015 laid out the vision and goals of future EU energy policy as well as a list of 15 action points; translating those visions and goals into actual policy still has to come in the form of concrete initiatives, both legislative proposals and non-legislative policy documents, with two sets of measures per year, a winter and a summer package.
The first package was published on 15 July. Alongside legislative proposals on energy labeling and a revision of the European Emissions Trading Scheme, the package included a public consultation on the redesign of the European energy market and a communication on “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers.” The latter document says clearly that the current energy retail market is not functioning and identifies three pillars to correct the situation: consumer empowerment, smart homes and networks & data management (plus protection).
The Commission writes that all consumers should have easy access to their real- or near-time consumption data and that smart meters play a “leading role in delivering free and frequent access to accurate consumption data.”2 Moreover, smart metering systems should be able to connect with home energy management systems to allow consumers to participate in demand-response programs.
In order to ensure that smart metering systems being installed in Europe provide concrete consumer benefits, the Commission will “follow the implementation of (smart metering) standards closely and will analyze whether the European standards on smart grids and smart metering systems, as well as the recommended functionalities for the latter, are consistently applied to ensure that they deliver the desired functionality and interoperability.”2
Any concrete legislative proposals could conceivably come as early as the summer package 2016.
Footnote 1: European Commission VP Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič at the presentation of the Energy Union for Europe package on 25 February 2015 in Brussels.
Footnote 2: EC communication “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers” 15 July 2015