European recovery plans
In July 2021, the EU Council approved the national recovery and resilience plans (RRPs) of 12 countries including the ones of Germany, Italy, Spain and France. The financial windfall represented by the European recovery plans makes it clearly possible to accelerate the energy transition. But this windfall does not guarantee its success. We need to ensure the cost-benefit optimization of investments to reduce CO2 emissions while guaranteeing the EU's energy security. In other words, the economic impact of this transformation must be overseen.
The European energy transition offers the opportunity to create new centers of economic and technological competitiveness and new sectors of excellence, in particular in the field of:
- renewable energies;
- hydrogen and electric batteries;
- sectors that create value and "green" jobs.
The energy transition represents many opportunities for the EU: economic, social and geopolitical.
Shifting the paradigm
CO2 emissions in Europe must be reduced significantly to meet the Paris Agreement goals. This implies, within the next 30 years, a radical transformation of energy production, transformation and consumption systems as well as a drastic cut in the use of hydrocarbons in Europe.
Moreover, this decarbonization strategy relies on a deep change in skills and behaviors, as well as the development of significant technological innovation and investment in R&D in order to decarbonize applications and sectors for which no suitable solutions exist yet.
Despite significant progress, there is divergence between the EU member states in the field of energy policies. The main disagreement concerns the social aspects of this energy transition. Due to the heterogeneity of socio-economic situations within the EU, the fight against climate change is prioritized differently by each member state, making it difficult to reach consensus on the measures to be adopted.
A more integrated vision of Europe’s energy transition is needed to optimize investments in the transformation of European energy systems. The creation of an independent European Energy Transition Agency (EETA), with extended competences, would meet this need. The Agency could become the architect of an integrated European vision, monitoring the transformation of energy systems, in particular through systematic scientific studies: impact reports on energy costs, energy security and the social impact of these transformations.