EU Ministers: Energy Sector Should Play a Central Role in COVID-19 Recovery Plan
Date: May 5th 2020
Author: Tanja Srnovršnik
The energy sector should play a central role in the recovery plan from COVID-19, said the Croatian EU Presidency following a videoconference of EU Ministers responsible for energy which was held on Tuesday 28 April. During the videoconference, Slovenia’s Minister of Infrastructure, Jernej Vrtovec, called for the promotion of investments in the energy sector, said the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure.The main objectives of Tuesday’s videoconference were “to assess the measures already taken to reinforce preparedness and ensure security of supply and to identify the possible contribution of the energy sector for a rapid response to the crisis in the short and mid-term recovery effort.
The ministers exchanged views on the measures already taken to secure energy supply during the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibilities for the energy sector to help in the recovery after the crisis,” said the Croatian Presidency.
“In response to the operational challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to limit its outbreak, the industry has implemented exceptional business arrangements to ensure the 24/7 continuity of essential energy operations, whilst protecting the health and safety of staff,” noted the Croatian Presidency.
According to the Croatian Presidency, the EU ministers “acknowledged that the European energy system is resilient and that currently there is no risk of disruption to energy supply systems, especially for those most in need.”
The ministers “stressed the importance of the tools for ensuring the stability of the security of supply. Furthermore, the ministers also highlighted that the resilience of the energy system is the result of a well-functioning internal energy market and robust preparedness measures, including close cooperation of the member states.”
“In the current phase, when the pandemic is reaching its peak, consideration should be given to economic recovery in the next stage. During the discussion, the ministers emphasised that the European Green Deal, together with the national energy and climate plans, can play an important role in bringing sustainable recovery to the EU economy,” noted the Croatian Presidency.
“This is the right time to reflect on how the energy sector can uplift the immense efforts which are needed to revive our economies. The clean energy transition towards green growth and climate neutrality can represent a major opportunity to stimulate the recovery of the Member States' economies,” said Tomislav Ćorić, Croatia’s Minister of Environment and Energy.
The ministers also reflected on how initiatives such as the renovation wave, various renewable energy projects, frontloaded infrastructure investment and the Just Transition Mechanism can contribute to a fast and efficient recovery as well as which activities or measures could be rapidly implemented at an EU level.
“This crisis should not be allowed to slow down our transition to a low-carbon society, as activities and investments in this area can make a significant contribution to accelerating economic activity. This can be an essential part of a growth strategy. It is therefore necessary to ensure that investment activity is not reduced, but funds are needed to accelerate investment. We can immediately accelerate the energy renovation of buildings, the construction of distributed renewables and the development of smart distribution grids,” said Vrtovec.
“The Commission considers that the recovery plan should focus on strengthening the internal market and resilience. Resources must not be wasted. The Commission’s revised work programme will focus on the promotion of renewable energy-based technologies, the energy renovation of buildings and the promotion of innovative technologies,” explained the Croatian Presidency.
“We had an extremely relevant and very timely discussion today on the crisis and the energy sector. I’m proud to say that it has proven its resilience and, as the ministers confirmed, there has been no disruption of supply. It must be a priority for all of us to respond to this and preserve Europe’s global leadership in clean technologies,” concluded Kadri Simson, the EU Commissioner for Energy.