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CT1 & CT2 Joint Session – 7th Plenary Meeting

|   5. Highlights

Joint Session on Energy System Integration Strategy

The Commission published its ‘Powering a climate-neutral economy: An EU Strategy for Energy System Integration’ in July 2020. It emphasizes the importance of taking an integrated approach to the transformation of the energy system to deliver on the EU 2030 energy and climate targets and 2050 climate neutrality goal of the EU Green Deal.

This Strategy sets out a vision for how to accelerate the transition towards a more integrated energy system - one that supports a climate neutral economy at the least cost across sectors – while strengthening energy security, protecting health and the environment, and promoting growth, innovation and global industrial leadership. The strategy also aims to improve the circularity of the energy system, with energy efficiency at its core, in order to decarbonize Europe. In line with the strategy, areas where an integrated approach to heat and electricity, including the integration of renewable gases can be used to decarbonize the energy system. The heating and cooling systems will be vital in the energy transition towards carbon neutrality by 2050. This session helped to raise awareness of, and discuss the policies to support, such system integration solutions within Member States taking into account how European level policies, on topics such as energy infrastructures, renewable energy, research and innovation, support and financing.

After a short presentation by a DG ENER representative on the importance of the Energy System Strategy for delivering climate neutrality and supporting a green economic recovery after COVID-19, a representative from Consentec presented a summary of study results conducted for Germany on energy system integration. The study looked at different strategies, namely direct electrification, renewable hydrogen and other renewable biofuels of non-biological origin (e-fuels) and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy. Infrastructure is one of the main challenges for energy system integration, especially because there is a large lead time to install large-scale energy infrastructures therefore strong coordination, not only on EU level, but also on national, regional and local level will be needed.

These claims were supported by a representative from E3Modelling, who gave a presentation on deep decarbonization pathways and emphasized that disruptive changes are needed to transform the energy system. Disruptive changes include the reduction of energy demand in all sectors, behavioural changes in the way users use energy, changes in the production and nature of energy commodities, as well as capturing CO2 emissions. The representative highlighted that sectoral integration is an intrinsic element of the energy system and that the next decade will play a crucial role for infrastructure, industrial development of immature technologies and the power sector restructuring. Domestic production of new, decarbonised fuels in the EU would bring tremendous gains in security of energy supply by reducing net imports from outside the EU considerably. Liquid and gaseous e-fuels would support the deep decarbonization of sectors that are hard to decarbonize (e.g. industry, transport).