Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to see leaders, policy makers, public and local administration
representatives, banks and investors and many other stakeholders present today, all committed
to the cause of the clean energy transition in Europe.
This conference could not be timelier. Firstly, the Bonn climate talks started yesterday, and
the EU will work hard to ensure that we make solid progress on the implementation of the
Paris Agreement. It is now time to translate ambition into concrete action.
Secondly, the EU energy system is undergoing a profound and rapid transformation, faced
with the challenges of decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation. As always in times
of change, there are challenges and huge opportunities to seize.
This transition is already under way, and, as the data shows, it is here to stay:
Currently, 30% of electricity in the EU is coming from renewable energies. This share will
At global level, the increase in generation capacity from renewable energy sources in 2015
(53.6%) was for the first time higher than the increase from conventional energy sources
including coal, gas, oil and nuclear.
In 2015, worldwide investment in clean energy hit a record high with more than 300 billion
The landmark Paris agreement gave a crystal clear signal that the transition towards a
sustainable energy system is not only Europe's ambition, but a goal shared by the global
community. This also means that clean energy technologies are a matter of global competition
– and that Europe needs to ensure it remains at the forefront.
The energy sector is a key factor for the competitiveness of Europe's economy. With the
energy transition we can improve the quality of life of our citizens; we can boost our
Today, we will discuss together how to go further and faster. How we all can contribute to
advance our common interest in making the energy transition a success for all Europeans. I
see two main elements:
Firstly, how the EU can set the right conditions for a transition to clean energy;
Secondly, how we together can address the investment challenge, outlining the role of our
In October 2014, our political leaders decided on an ambitious policy framework with clear
objectives for 2030. These include binding EU targets of at least 40% domestic reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions.
The end of 2015 saw a major breakthrough at global level, with the signature of the Paris
Agreement, the first universally, legally binding global climate deal. Having long been the
global leader in climate action, the EU was joined by a global alliance and an unprecedented
multilateral partnership between nearly 200 countries.
Three years into its mandate, the Juncker Commission has delivered: we have adopted several
political mandate set by the European Council and the Paris deal. Let me recall some of them.
First of all, in February 2015 and later in July 2016, we presented all legislation necessary to
meet our climate target, composed on one hand of the revision of the EU's greenhouse gases
emission trading system, the ETS, and on the other, of the Effort Sharing proposal covering
all other sectors, as well as proposals on how to integrate land use and forestry.
Then, in November 2016, we adopted the Clean Energy Package for all Europeans, in order to
deliver secure, sustainable and competitive energy with a 2030 perspective.
The package will establish a stable framework for investments in clean energy, contributing to
an increase in 1% of European GDP over the next decade, and creating 900.000 jobs.
It covers all parts of the energy system – from the producer to the end user. Focusing on
Energy Efficiency, Renewables, Electricity Market Design and Governance, it intends to set
the most advanced regulatory framework, allowing Europe to continue to lead the transition
towards a decarbonised energy system. All these proposals are interlinked and mutually
reinforcing to support our ambitions:
investing in smart grids, new capacity, buildings and industry;
Second, to put energy efficiency first, by introducing an ambitious target of 30%;
Third, to promote innovation in new technologies and help their market penetration;
Fourth, to increase the integration of energy markets, creating stability and certainty for
And finally, to give energy policy a truly European dimension, by strengthening solidarity and
coordination of policies at European level.
The Commission is providing all its support to progress on these files during negotiations
with Parliament and Council. And I would like in to compliment both co-legislators for their
commitment and efforts in this process.
There are already concrete results. Let me take this opportunity to announce that, according to
between 1990 and 2016, while the economy grew by 53% over the same period. In 2016
alone, EU emissions decreased by 0.7% while GDP grew by 1.9%.
This clearly shows that the EU continues to successfully decouple its economic growth from
its emissions. Our emissions decline while the economy grows, largely thanks to innovative
technologies, providing evidence that growth and climate action can go hand in hand. As part
of these efforts, I will tomorrow propose new CO2 targets for cars and van, representing
nearly a quarter of all EU emissions.
FACING THE INVESTMENT CHALLENGE
Turning now to the investment challenge, the energy transition is first and foremost a
historical opportunity to boost the deployment of low carbon technologies and infrastructure
and to stay at the forefront of innovative technologies.
In 2015, the renewables sector represented 1.1 million jobs in the EU, and a turnover of
153 billion EURO. Europe is the world leader in per capita investment in renewables, as well
as in terms of new generating capacity installed.
In addition, it is estimated that energy efficiency measures could create 2.5 million jobs. And
the energy transition will create huge opportunities for the construction and engineering
But financing the clean energy transition demands considerable investments. You know the
order of magnitude: [as already reminded by previous speakers]. It is estimated at some
379 billion EURO worth of investment every year from 2021 until 2030 if we are to achieve
our proposed 2030 energy and climate targets. That is 177 billion EURO more than expected
under a status quo scenario.
This can only be breached with the necessary combination of EU and national, public and
private, investment. This is why we have chosen to use our common EU budget to (i) fund
key priorities with EU added value such as energy efficiency renewables and missing
infrastructure links; and (ii) stimulate private investment in the energy sector.
An EU budget fit for the challenge
The European Structural and Investment Funds have a paramount role for investment in
energy efficiency and renewables.
They are investing over 21 billion EURO in energy efficiency in public and residential
buildings and in enterprises in the 2014-2020 programming period, with a focus on SME's
and in wind, solar, biomass and other renewables.
As regards the needed trans-European infrastructure in the energy sector, the Connecting
Europe Facility plays an important role to ensure that all necessary interconnectors are rolled
selected projects, with grants worth 1.6 billion EURO. These electricity interconnectors are
crucial in making optimum use of intermittent renewable resources, whose availability varies
greatly from region to region.
The focus of the Connecting Europe Facility is already gradually shifting towards electricity,
including smart grids, in support of the decarbonisation objectives of our Energy Union. I
expect this trend to be further reinforced with the third list of Projects of Common Interest to
be adopted on the 23
supports research and innovation activities. Through Horizon 2020, it provides 5.68 billion
EURO for secure, clean and efficient energy between 2014 and 2020.
Making our budget an integral part of the energy transition means aligning it to the maximum
possible extent with our policy objectives. Climate mainstreaming is a powerful vehicle for
ensuring financial support for our 2030 energy and climate policy target and longer-term
This has worked well. Setting a 20% target for climate-related spending has put consideration
of climate and clean energy at the centre of design and implementation of all EU programmes.
This also means ensuring that the EU budget does not finance actions that are incompatible
with our ambitions in terms of climate policy and clean energy transition.
Leveraging public and private investment
Given the magnitude of the investment challenge, we also need to use our limited EU budget
as a catalyst to spur further public and private investment.
There is no doubt that the bulk of investments for the clean energy transition will have to
come from the private sector.
This is why innovative financial instruments have been given a prominent role in
implementing our common budget. In this respect, [and to complement the words of Vice
from the European Fund for Strategic Investments. As of September 2017, this represents
over 20% (worth 9.6bn EURO) of all approved EFSI operations.
The Commission has proposed an even more ambitious approach for the reformed EFSI, with
the introduction of a 40% climate target in the infrastructure and innovation window.
The renovation of building is a particularly interesting sector, representing some 40% of
Europe's energy consumption, with a market value estimated at some 80-120 billion EURO in
2030 and representing huge business opportunities for SMEs, with also a strong social
dimension as energy poverty can be reduced thanks to energy savings.
To unlock this potential, we have introduced the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB)
initiative. It includes a number of concrete actions to use public funds more effectively,
including through the faster deployment of innovative financial instruments and the
development of financing platforms, to aggregate projects, support their development, and
make energy efficiency projects more attractive to financial institutions so as to achieve more
As part of this initiative, we are helping the public sector to lead by example and undertake
ambitious renovations of its buildings, not least because it owns about 1 in every 10 buildings
in the EU, but also because it faces several constraints in that respect, including limited scope
A major breakthrough was achieved in September 2017 in this respect, when we updated the
relevant European guidance so as to allow for energy efficiency investments in publicly-
owned buildings to not count towards the calculation of public deficit and debt – therefore
lifting a major barrier to public investment.
To ensure a swift change in market practices, we are currently working with the experts from
year which will show how concretely this new guidance should be applied by public bodies
and energy service companies.
our ambitious targets for decarbonising our energy system.
Through (i) ambitious sets of legislative proposals, underpinned by our role as global leaders
in driving the global climate agenda; and (ii) making use of our common budget to finance
key projects and leveraging public and private resources, we are making the energy transition
a reality for all Europeans. And my hope is that today's conference will make it clear how, if
we all work together, we can further accelerate this process.
Thank you for your attention.