The Regulations and Directive on the internal market for electricity were put to the vote in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research & Energy (ITRE) today, and Left MEPs have expressed their disappointment that elements concerning energy poverty are too weak, and that more is needed to support renewable energy rather than placing the burden on it.

The Regulations set the basis for the Commission’s Energy Union objectives and energy and climate 2030 targets. For the Directive, its focus is primarily on the role of the customers in the electricity market and their rights – including vulnerable customers and energy poverty.

For MEP Cornelia Ernst, concerns over the priority dispatch elements within the Regulations were key:

“Today’s ITRE vote on the limitation of priority dispatch for renewable energy installations is a setback and endangers the development of renewable energy in the European Union.”

“Priority dispatch guarantees that renewable electricity is fed into the grid and sold. Without such an instrument, coal power and nuclear power will dominate the electricity grid and endanger the fight against climate change.”

GUE/NGL’s coordinator in ITRE, Neoklis Sylikiotis, took issue with the liberalisation of the internal market for electricity – at the expense of vulnerable customers:

“Unfortunately, the report promotes the liberalisation of the electricity market. Furthermore, the reference regarding energy poverty in the Commission's communication is very weak and incomplete. It is not enough to refer in general terms to the need to tackle energy poverty.”

“The EU must promote specific measures and present a concrete strategy to address the problem but has unfortunately failed to do so. For us, energy is a social good and it is therefore important to ensure equal access for all to affordable energy,” the Cypriot MEP added.

For MEP Xabier Benito, priority must be given to renewable energy rather than coal and fossil fuels to provide electricity:

“The limitation of 550 gCO2 / kWh for capacity mechanisms have been approved. It is the first step – which needs to be strengthened – in phasing out hidden subsides for power plants using fossil fuels.”

“We must give priority to providing economic support for renewables instead of maintaining an obsolete model of electricity production.”

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