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The Energy Group is back: get energized!

by Francesco de Marzo (European Political and Governance Studies - Manuel Marín Promotion)

The CoE Energy Group presents its activities and aims after the success of the first seminar

The creation of the Energy Group dates back to 2012, when students of the Vàclav Havel Promotion first established this network aimed at fostering knowledge on energy related issues.

In the Marin Promotion, the Energy Group is back, gathering students of the College with a strong interest in a multitude of aspects and developments in EU Energy Affairs. These students aim to spread knowledge among the College community and foster a debate with legal, economic, political, and diplomatic perspectives.

An element conferring a special flavor to the current activities is the new denomination of the College of Europe Energy Chair, under whose patronage the Group is delivering its initiatives. In fact, as a tribute to his role as chairman of the Fundación Iberdrola España, the name of Manuel Marìn, our promotion patron, is now mentioned in the “IBERDROLA Manuel Marín Chair for European Energy Policy”.

An additional reason to make the work of the Energy Group 2018/2019 a really special one.

The first seminar, entitled “Myths and Opportunities of the EU Energy Transition”, has taken place on October 30th, with great participation and active involvement of the students.

As first speaker, Sébastien Willemart (IRD) presented a detailed policy proposal on how to better implement the European Emission Trading System (ETS). Covering around 11.000 industrial and power plants in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the EU Emissions Trading System is a cap-and-trade instrument, as it sets a limit on overall emissions and leaves the allocation of resources to market logic.

Moreover, the cap is reduced yearly to ensure emissions decline over time (i.e. each year, less permits are allocated) and if a company emits more than ‘its share of emissions’, it has to buy permits at market price. This makes the polluting industry less competitive and creates new market incentives.

Notwithstanding the presence of the Market Stability Reserve (MSR), that is, a set-aside reserve mechanism of permits that prevents extremes in supply by addressing surplus caused by economic cycles and policy overlaps, the Emissions Trading System is not delivering concrete results in accordance to the Paris Agreements standards. The proposals put forward by Sébastien ranged from abandoning the mechanism of free allowances (permits to emit) freely awarded to industries, to strengthening the Market Stability Reserve, to a renewed combination of the Emission Trading System with Industrial policy, coherently with the Paris Agreement commitments.

The second speech was delivered by Yedong (Richard) Wang (ECO-EPPA), who held a focus on China’s strong commitment to improve in energy efficiency through the Energy Production and Consumption Revolution Strategy 2016-2030. In this framework, Richard presented in particular the casess of two companies active in this regard, the Panda Green Limited for the development of solar power, and the Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd for wind power. Furthermore, an interesting part of the presentation was dedicated to the success story of the electrict cars by BYD Auto, the so-called “Chinese Tesla”.

Finally, Katharina Meeh (IRD) proposed an evaluation of the German Energiewende, 18 years after its creation. The German Energy Transition comprises a long-term energy and climate strategy based on the shift from coal and nuclear to renewable energy. Considered as a model of innovation, which has been defined by Frank-Walter Steinmeier as “the German equivalent of the project to get the first man to the moon", today the Energiewende raises, nonetheless, a number of questions to be discussed, from how to better tackle energy poverty to the support of citizens and businesses.

Right after the seminar, a very participated debate helped to raise further elements of discussion and new themes to be developed.

The first initiative of the Energy Group, then, has been a success.

With the active commitment and contribution of the students of the Manuel Marìn promotion, this will be only the beginning.


The more, the merrier - Issue n. 2, 9 November 2018


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