The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications will today (September 20) meet with Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Energy. The Commissioner will address the Committee on the theme Challenges for European Energy Policy. Central to EU energy policy are the “20-20-20” targets, which set three key objectives for Member States to reach by 2020:
· A 20 percent reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels;
· Raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20 percent, and
· A 20 percent improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency.
Chairman of the Committee Tom Hayes TD says: “Our Committee has an important role in scrutinising European Union proposals and tomorrow’s engagement with Commissioner Oettinger provides a valuable opportunity for us to assess the challenges for European energy policy. The Commissioner is in Ireland to open the East-West interconnector between Ireland and Wales, which is a crucial part of our national infrastructure that will enhance energy security and assist in the development of renewable energy on the island.”
Members may also wish to raise a Committee Report published earlier in the year, which encapsulates some of the concerns for Ireland on the EU’s important energy efficiency directive. The report was published by the Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture in March and stated that, while Ireland has a national target in line with the EU energy saving directive, the Committee does not support ‘binding’ targets at this juncture. The report advises that Member States should be allowed to achieve these targets based on the optimal mix of targets, schemes and programmes for a particular country.