UK energy minister Michael Fallon has called on the European Council to complete the internal energy market this year.
Fallon says a well-functioning and integrated internal market in electricity and gas “will be a critical part of ensuring security of our energy supplies and in keeping energy costs down”.
The minister, speaking at the Eurelectric conference in London, says this also means agreeing on key technical rules to remove barriers to cross-border trade.
“On top of that, Europe needs much more investment in interconnection to better link markets," he says. "Without secure, affordable energy we will not be able to move to a more sustainable, lower-carbon energy future.
"By acting now, we can give investors the certainty they need to commit the enormous sums of money required to modernise and reinforce the EU’s energy infrastructure over the next decade”.
Fallon says the 2030 climate and energy agenda needs to be a driver of competitiveness that benefits consumers and industry, while allowing member states to determine their own energy mix and to decarbonise at the pace best suited to their economic situation.
Europe should, he believes, no longer be ideological about energy. “Renewables play, and will continue to play, an important role both in the European energy system and here in the UK.
“Signing up to yet more targets, irrespective of the impact on consumers and business, would be, in our view deeply irresponsible. That is why we support a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, without a binding renewables target.
“EU member states must be free to choose the least-cost pathway that they determine as appropriate. And in cutting emissions, member states too must retain the flexibility to take action at their own pace – to go no slower and no faster than other European countries if they so wish."