Three questions to Claude Turmes
Claude Turmes (from Luxembourg) has been a Green Member of the European Parliament since 1999. He is the Green group’s coordinator on energy issues and a member of the parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
He is also rapporteur on the governance of the Energy Union, shadow rapporteur on the revision of the RES Directive and the electricity market design, and past rapporteur on the internal electricity market, the Directive on Renewable Energy Sources, and the Energy Efficiency Directive. In February 2017, he published a book, Transition énergétique: une chance pour l'Europe.
How has the sustainable energy landscape changed since EUSEW 2016?
We see that 2016 was the hottest year in history and the Arctic is at its lowest level in the last 35 years. There is an urgent problem for the planet.
The good news is that there are solutions. Renewables are cheaper than ever, and competitive. Every time we meet for EUSEW, the price of renewables is down on the previous year by several percentage points. Moreover, we know exactly how to renovate buildings with zero emissions, and even make them energy positive.
With these solutions come export opportunities for the EU, growth, jobs, better air quality and reduced geopolitical risk. We need to act now to roll out the energy transition the EU needs!
Last year you saw a more broadly inclusive energy transition, with support for prosumers, as important future trends. How do you now see the future of sustainable energy?
The future of sustainable energy depends on a few factors, which are mostly linked to the governance system we want to set up in Europe around these questions.
Firstly, regional cooperation is a great way to optimise the deployment of sustainable energy. Secondly, interconnectivity will accelerate the roll-out of renewables and reduce their costs. Finally, all stakeholders — such as citizens, cities, cooperatives, institutional investors, SMEs and progressive industry — should be on board. Prosumers are the future. Everyone should be able to produce, use, store and sell energy.
What are you looking forward to at the 2017 EUSEW Policy Conference and what is your message for participants this year?
I am proud to be an Ambassador of EUSEW 2017. The energy transition cannot wait. It needs all stakeholders to join forces. This is exactly the added value of the EUSEW, where activists, engineers, practitioners, policy-makers and individual citizens can meet and exchange ideas.
The Commission recently presented the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, made up of good legislative proposals. We should see the bigger picture. We should go beyond legislation and act at all levels to create an enabling environment for green investment.