Categories
uncategorized

UPDATE: On The Inside: How the gas lobby infiltrates EU decision making on energy

Updated trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E) legislation is set to give an obscure gas industry body power over Europe’s energy future. Time to cut fossil fuels out of our politics.

2nd edition

Read the briefing here. 

2021 UPDATE: NOTHING HAS CHANGED

The first edition of this briefing,1 in summer 2020, showed how the trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E) regulation has placed an obscure body advocating for vested gas industry interests at the heart of EU decision making on energy. It demonstrated that the biased advice of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G) to the European Commission helped its own gas industry members benefit to the tune of €1.1 billion euros in taxpayer subsidies. The paper called on the European Commission to revise the TEN-E regulation to fully replace ENTSO-G, with a transparent, independent body free of all fossil fuel interests.

Since then, the European Commission (EC) has published its proposals to revise the TEN-E regulation. However, despite vocal civil society criticism of the involvement of the gas industry in Europe’s energy infrastructure planning, the proposed role of ENTSO-G is still as prominent and problematic as ever.

The EC announced the TEN-E proposal with the comment “this is an evolution, not a revolution”. But, when it comes to the high level role the fossil fuel industry is given in deciding on Europe’s future energy infrastructure, there is no change.

The new TEN-E proposal is still based on rolling out large energy infrastructure projects that preserve the primacy of the fossil fuel industry. The proposals do little to bolster the transition to integrated community-led renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate justice. Of biggest concern, the inherent conflict of interest at the heart of the infrastructure selection process is not addressed. This, despite the fact that the old TEN-E has so far overseen severe delays, abandoned projects, and the waste of 440 million euros of EU taxpayers money on gas projects which have been cancelled or are highly unlikely to ever start operating.2

We face a climate emergency in which Europe has just years to wean itself off our addiction to fossil fuels. The EU Green Deal necessitates a profound transformation of our energy system. But the TEN-E draft proposal is clearly not getting us there.

The fossil fuel industry should not be in charge of defining what the EU energy system needs. This briefing calls for a firewall to end fossil fuel industry access to decision-makers, starting with the TEN-E regulation. We continue to call for the replacement of ENTSO-G by a transparent, independent body free of all fossil fuel interests.

Read more in our briefing!