Can the EU afford to leave rural areas behind in its energy transition?

15Jan
2019
  • Dinner debate in Strasbourg
Main speaker: 

Chaired by Jerzy Buzek MEP, President of the European Energy Forum
Mr. Steven Sels – CEO of Primagaz France, an SHV Energy company
Mr. Ilias Vazaios – Managing Partner at Ecuity Consulting
Mr. Tudor Constantinescu  – European Commission, Principal Advisor to the Director-General for Energy

The efforts made by countries to bring the 2015 Paris Agreement to life are expected to put flesh on the bones at the ongoing COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

In preparation of this climate milestone, the European Commission published its “Clean Planet for All” strategy, which aims to give direction to EU Member States and offer a choice between eight scenarios to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement. As debates on decarbonisation traditionally focus predominantly on urban areas due to scale and available grid infrastructure, the question is whether these scenarios take sufficiently into account the decarbonisation challenges of Europe’s rural areas, where 50 % of EU citizens are living.

The International Energy Agency’s recent World Energy Outlook acknowledges that there is no single solution to turn emissions around. In the run up to the European elections, one should not forget that a healthy environment today and a solid climate tomorrow matter to citizens. The energy transition needs to be affordable for citizens and cost effective for governments.

Within this framework, SHV Energy commissioned Ecuity Consulting to explore scenarios for decarbonising homes in Europe’s rural areas within the framework of the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE initiative).

This EEF dinner-debate will provide an opportunity to understand the specific challenges rural energy users are faced with as well as to exchange views on the rural decarbonisation potential and on how this low hanging fruit can best be picked from a policy perspective.

We look forward to an insightful and fruitful debate!