Updated on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 – 17:02
Timmermans says to study Ribera’s measures and his request for “redesign”, but predicts that gas will drop in 2022
Frans Timmermans, during the presentation of ‘Fit for 55’ POOLREUTERS
The Vice-President of the European Commission for Climate Change, Frans Timmermans, chills the request of the Government to modify the rules of the European energy market to lower prices and calls for calm. “The energy market cannot be changed overnight,” he told a group of Spanish journalists in Strasbourg.
Timmermans admits he got a letter from the vice president Teresa Ribera before the summer in which he urged him to “rethink” the operation of the market. “Consumers do not understand why efforts in the deployment of renewable energy do not translate more directly and immediately into lower electricity bills,” said the minister.
Timmermans points out that it is something that needs a lot of study. It rejects that the European market for CO2 emission rights is key in the record rise in prices and blame gas. “I will do everything in my power to help the Spanish government to ensure that Spanish citizens are not unduly affected by market fluctuations, because what is happening is just that, fluctuations.” And due to gas, in addition, in his opinion, and in a temporary way. “Our estimate is that although prices are high now, according to experts, they will be much lower in the gas markets next year,” he said after noting that he believes that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, is doing the same. bet with your measurements. It qualifies, however, that “the market is the market and they are predictions that can change.”
What is clear is the factor of the rise. “Some allude to CO2 prices as a reason for the rise, but it is not so (…) it is the fault of the gas,” says the Dutch socialist.
In his opinion, on how to deal with the problem, one thing is for the Spanish government to take measures to mitigate the current fluctuation in the market and “there are instruments that are within the possibilities of the EU legislation”; and another, “the redesign of the market” that “can be discussed, but not make a quick decision”. “We understand that the Spanish government tries to mitigate the impact of market fluctuations on consumers, but regarding the redesign, the energy market cannot be changed overnight.”
Asked about the measures approved by the Council of Ministers, including intervention in the profits of electricity companies, Timmermans was cautious: “We will study those measures. I cannot comment now.” What is relativized is that electricity companies can curb investment in renewable energy due to current losses in profitability. “I am not concerned that even higher gas prices could undermine investment capacity in this area. They have even strengthened the case for investing in renewable energy.” On that he praises the evolution in the fourth euro economy. “Spain has already done a lot over the years with different governments, both socialist and PP.” “If we had done this on a European scale five years before, we would not be in this situation now because the dependence on natural gas would be much lower. “He noted, however, that although the current framework of rising energy prices” is a problem in many countries, “he admitted that there is” a specific Spanish problem. “Linked to short-term contracts that I did not detail.
In his opinion, in any case the challenge is to accelerate investment in renewable energies and for this it is necessary to solve “the bottleneck, which is also at the European level and is the time it takes to obtain licenses for solar or wind parks“He says that the authorities in the different member states will have to correct this bureaucracy, because” we will need at least twice the amount of electricity that we are producing now. “
Timmermans faces criticism in the European Parliament for fear that the acceleration of the so-called Green Deal will mean more costs for households and carriers. “Those who criticize never say what will happen if we do nothing. They never talk about the cost of non-action, what a fire costs in Spain each time it occurs, the cost of desertification for agriculture, etc. etc “, protests the Dutch socialist. “We have to compare the investment in our future with the cost of not investing in our future.”
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