The EU’s plans for the future of clean energy

In proposals made over two years ago, the EU outlined its plans for changing the way European energy markets are run. According to the Commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete, the EU is “on the brink of a clean energy revolution.”

When the plans were introduced in 2016, they were hailed by the commission as allowing “consumers and communities will be empowered to actively participate in the electricity market and generate their own electricity, consume it or sell it back to the market.”

So, does this mean we could see a revolution in clean energy? It was promised that consumers would be able to sell their own electricity as part of “citizen energy communities”. The question is: has this been delivered?

The EU claims that, for the most part, it has kept its word. On paper, policies have been introduced that have been seen by some as a “turning point”, especially in terms of smaller-scale renewable energy; solar power, for instance, has become more widely used in the last two years.

Furthermore, the EU has estimated that, by the year 2030, over 50 GW of solar and wind energy will be owned by individual energy communities. That equates to around 17 and 21% of the total capacity. And at the heart of the project, it’s hoped that consumers will be able to sell or share their own energy.

This would include energy generated from a variety of methods including solar panels, batteries, and charging stations used to power electric vehicles. The deal reached this week, which has been described as a “new horizon” for “energy ownership” across Europe, will, it’s hoped, bring us closer to the end goal.

If the Commission’s estimates are correct, it means that by 2050, 37% of renewable energy could come from individual energy communities. The talks were finalised last month and would encourage citizens to produce more of their own energy: a key strategy for combating climate change and moving away from fossil fuels.


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