Chief Executive Officer, SHV Gas
As the new European Commission comes into office, Europe has to define its future energy policy and secure a sustainable energy supply for all EU citizens and businesses - especially those in rural areas, located beyond the natural gas grid. The challenges are diverse and LPG can help to answer them.
Today, there is a constant debate among policymakers about the best way to fulfill the increasingly diversified demand for energy in Europe. Within all this discussion, the needs of homes and businesses in far flung rural areas are seldom mentioned. The fact is that around 30 million homes and businesses are located beyond the natural gas grid. These consumers often use appliances fuelled by high polluting fuels such as solid fuel or heating oil.
Many commentators seem to consider the countryside to be a great place to site nuclear power stations, wind farms and solar panels without considering the needs of the people who live there. SHV Gas believes that the relatively high carbon footprint of rural areas needs to be addressed without penalising their way of life. It is in this area that we believe LPG – used either in high efficiency applications or in conjunction with renewable technology – has a vital role to play.
One example of an energy efficient technology powered by LPG is Micro-CHP. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a well-established technology that allows heat and electricity to be produced simultaneously from the same fuel source – LPG. The potential of Micro-CHP is enormous as it could turn energy production into a two-way process using smart grids for electricity. We need the framework and the conditions for Micro-CHP put in place to make its potential reality.
The new European Commission has to set priorities for its energy policy and the first signs from the incoming Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger are promising. Indeed, the EU’s energy policy needs to focus on energy efficiency to reach its targets. The Second Energy Efficiency Action Plan will play an imperative role – if binding efficiency targets are included. In addition, the EEAP should also provide incentives for new technologies and the take up of cleaner fuels in the short term.
We also call for a level playing field of incentives and disincentives for energy use. The revision of the Energy Taxation Directive can be a step in the right direction, however any legislation has to take into account benefits of each fuel when it comes to lower CO2 and air quality. LPG is exceptionally clean burning with just CO2, water and trace elements being produced. It is the lowest carbon conventional fuel available and therefore should play a bigger part in the EU’s energy policy.
Finally, energy policy makers need to understand the different energy challenges of rural and urban communities. The future of rural energy has to be sustainable – not only environmentally friendly, but also secure, affordable and deliverable. This can only be managed through decentralised, efficient and modern energy solutions, for which EU support is vital.
What the Chiefs Say is a public affairs platform designed for senior executives from leading organisations to voice their expectations and concerns.
In this issue, business and industry leaders present to Europe’s policymakers their policies and priorities.
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