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Sonja van Renssen

Sonja van Renssen is co-founder and Brussels correspondent of Energy Post.

Most recent articles:

Coal plant, Madrid, New Mexico, ca 1935 (Unk, via Wikimedia Commons)

Brussels sets dangerous precedent by clearing UK capacity market

The European Commission has given the green light to a proposed UK capacity market that aims to ensure enough electricity is available to cover consumption at peak times. This is the Commission’s first assessment of a capacity market under new EU guidelines on energy and environment state aid that entered force on 1 July. The Commission says the aid is justified because it will contribute to the UK’s security of…….

Günther Oettinger (Credit: European Union, 2014)

European Commission spits forth a 30% energy efficiency target

Europe should adopt a 30% energy efficiency target for 2030, the European Commission finally announced on 23 July – without specifying whether that target should be binding or not. That decision it left to European leaders when they meet on 23-24 October. There, they are set to decide on a 2030 climate and energy package for Europe. But certainly for energy efficiency, the path is far from clear and any…….

photo: Michael Coghlan

EU Court upholds national renewable subsidy schemes in surprise decision

In a rare event, the EU Court of Justice has overturned the opinion of its own Advocate-General to rule that member states are not obliged to open up their national renewable subsidy schemes to producers in other countries. The decision was welcomed by renewables producers and member states such as Germany, which have generous subsidies in place. But it was lambasted by others, such as RECS International, an organisation of…….

photo Dave Sag

Why Brussels is reluctant to adopt an energy efficiency target that’s good for the EU economy

Within weeks, the European Commission will propose an energy efficiency target for Europe for 2030 that is substantially lower than what many stakeholders and policymakers believe is feasible. It will even be lower than what the Commission’s own impact assessment concludes is beneficial for the economy. And it will probably be non-binding although the impact assessment says a binding target would be more effective. Why this reluctance from Brussels to…….

Heat pump plumbing (Credit: Bryn Pinzgauer/flickr)

Heat pumps: waiting for the final push

As gas faces a reputational challenge from Ukraine, electric heat pumps are emerging as a promising alternative source of heating. Heat pumps can also make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Oddly enough, although heating and cooling accounts for 45% of the EU’s final energy consumption there is no EU-wide heating and cooling strategy. Some countries such as UK and Italy are introducing support for individual technologies such…….

Credit: European Union, 2014

Ten take-home messages from the new European Energy Security Strategy

On 28 May the European Commission published a new energy security strategy for the EU that sets out a long list of short-, medium- and long-term actions to reduce dependence on Russian gas. These range from regional “stress tests” for supply disruptions to new priority gas infrastructure projects to serious examination of centralised gas purchases. For many however, it is energy efficiency that will make or break this strategy. Sonja…….

V4 and Eastern Partnership meet in Budapest, 28 April 2014

East European countries place bombshell under EU climate policy

EU member states should be free to make their own decisions over whether to increase their greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments for 2020 – rather than letting the EU lead, according to a statement from seven Eastern European countries. With their declaration the group puts a bombshell under the EU’s collective efforts at the international climate negotiations.

Credit: Neil Kremer/Flickr

What oil companies do is bad for the climate. But it may also be bad for investors

Climate campaigners have a new weapon in their arsenal: they say that if shareholders want value for money they had better start questioning the high-risk, high-cost projects oil companies are undertaking on a massive scale. And not just because of climate risks, but for purely economic reasons as well. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, which first put the idea of ‘stranded assets’ on the map (i.e. the notion that a large…….

David Cameron (credit: World Economic Forum 2011/Moritz Hager, Flickr CC)

Leaked doc: David Cameron’s plans to make the EU fit UK energy policy

After Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, it’s David Cameron’s turn to seize the moment and promote a vision for EU energy security that neatly fits the UK’s own energy objectives. In a leaked “non-paper” seen by Energy Post the UK Prime Minister sets out what he wants EU leaders to agree at their next summit in Brussels in June. Cameron calls for energy security to be embedded in the EU’s 2030…….