12-17-2018  | Advent Calender 2018

The Winter Package is coming – Brussels implements EU climate protection targets and strengthens the internal market

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Numerous innovations in European energy law are to be expected in the coming year. The 4,000-page legislative package “Clean Energy for all Europeans” is intended to enable the EU to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments relating to climate protection and for 2030 and to strengthen the internal energy market.

As a binding target, the “Winter Package” stipulates that renewable energies should reach a share of at least 32 percent in the final energy consumption in the EU by 2030. Energy efficiency is to be improved by 32.5 percent. These targets could be revised upward in 2023.

The EU Commission intends to conclude the legislative process by the time of the European elections next year. Since this legislative package includes renewable energies, energy efficiency, electricity market design, and governance of the Energy Union, almost all energy companies and consumers will be affected by the “Winter Package.” In particular, investors in energy-related sectors will benefit from early consideration of the consequences of the new rules.

The package is divided into eight legislative proposals, four of which have already been politically agreed or adopted. They include a revised version of the Renewable Energy Directive:

  • There are separate targets for the use of renewables in heating, cooling, and transport.
  • The opening of national support systems for electricity installations abroad is in principle left to the Member States.
  • Separate bids for individual generation technologies continue to be permitted under certain conditions.
  • And there is a new framework for the self-consumption of green electricity for small plants.

In addition, the Directive provides for sustainability criteria for the use of biomass.

The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive aims at promoting “intelligent” and energy-efficient buildings. There will also be national roadmaps to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings.

The new Energy Efficiency Directive extends the EU’s existing energy saving commitments beyond 2020. Member States must take energy efficiency steps in favor of households affected by energy poverty. Consumers will be given additional rights in the billing of heating costs.

Negotiations are still underway on other issues such as adapting the rules for the internal electricity market. These include, for example, specifications for national capacity mechanisms (to maintain sufficient generation capacity), a minimum availability of cross-border lines for electricity trading, and exceptions for the feed-in priority of renewable energy plants and the admissibility of regulated prices.
We are advising energy companies and customers as well as investors in energy-related sectors on their questions about the new “Winter Package.”

Your contacts are the experts from the Energy Practice Group. Dr. Marco Garbers, LL.M. (Cornell) and his team specialize in energy law and renewable energies.

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