The clean energy package encompasses all of our areas, so I will give a general overview and a short summary of each of the areas as opposed to us taking up too much time by each person speaking. My division, strategic energy policy, is a co-ordinating division across all of the areas so it is probably useful if I start with that.
I will outline the major points in our opening statement that are of relevance. On 30 November last, the European Commission published the Clean Energy for all Europeans package. It contained eight legislative proposals. We are discussing seven of those today. One of them is within the remit of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The eight proposals are grouped into four main categories.
The first category is energy efficiency, which is the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance and Building Directive that is with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The second grouping is energy market reform. This is the electricity internal market design regulation, the Electricity Internal Market Design Directive, the Agency for the Co-operation of Energy Regulators, ACER, regulation, and the risk preparedness in the electricity sector regulation. The third category is just one item, the Renewable Energy Directive. The fourth and final group is the governance of the energy union regulation.
I will address in brief the situation around the Maltese Presidency. At the moment they are looking to progress all of the files but with specific priority on the two energy efficiency files. They have set out - in Council terms - what is likely to happen. The Maltese expect to reach a general agreement on both of the energy efficiency files by the end of the Maltese Presidency in mid-2017. They expect to have completed a progress report on the other six files. All eight proposals will be discussed at the Energy Council on 27 February. Countries will be invited to give their initial views. The two energy efficiency files will be discussed at the Energy Council informal meeting in May with a view to reaching a general agreement in the June Energy Council meeting.
I will now go into more detail on each of the four categories. Turning first to the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance and Buildings Directive, the key provisions of note in the Energy Efficiency Directive is to include a 30% binding EU target for energy efficiency. This is an increase on the at least 27% target in the EU Council decision of October 2014. There is also provision to extend the energy efficiency obligation scheme beyond 2020 all the way to 2030.
The other proposal in the energy efficiency area is the Energy Performance and Buildings Directive, which again is held by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. It is worth noting that buildings consume 40% of the energy produced in the EU and the proposed directive will encourage the use of ICT, smart technologies such as building automation and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Ireland is generally supportive of these proposals.
The second package is the energy market reform. This package consists of four legislative proposals, the first three of which are recasts, that is a set of amendments to existing regulations and this is how they have been set out, mainly to two regulations and one directive that were in the third energy package as adopted in 2009. The third proposal is the ACER regulation - the third of the amendments to the third package - specifically to the legislation on the agency for the co-operation of energy regulators. This regulation makes recommendations on ACER having increased responsibilities in specific aspects of increased regional co-operation among energy regulators and on providing enhanced powers to the agency. The security of electricity supply regulation is very much a peer to the security of gas supply regulation on the electricity side and Ireland would have a relatively positive view on that.
The third package is the Renewable Energy Directive. The provisions of the proposed Renewable Energy Directive build on the existing directive and provide a framework for renewable energy development to 2030. It takes account of the political agreement reached by the European Council in October 2014 to increase EU energy share from renewable energy to a level of at least 27% by 2030. This target will be delivered through individual member states’ contributions. The EU-level target in the proposed directive represents a fundamental shift away from legally binding national targets. The 2020 national renewable energy target of 16% for Ireland will become the baseline target set out to 2030. In addition, supplementary measures for electricity, heating and cooling, and transport will be required so that the EU target will be collectively reached. The level of economic growth between 2021 and 2030, combined with delivery of energy efficiency savings, will determine the level of renewable energy measures required in order for Ireland to make a cost-effective contribution towards delivery of the EU target in the period to 2030.
The final group of proposals is around the governance of the energy union. I stress that this really does cut across all the other proposals. I shall explain briefly the history of this and the Council's conclusions of October 2014. It was agreed that a reliable and transparent governance system, without any unnecessary administrative burden, would be developed to help ensure the EU meets its energy policy goals. These goals include the 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; at least a 27% share for renewable energy; and at least a 27% improvement in energy efficiency, currently proposed to increase to 30%. The energy union strategy of 25 February 2015 broadened the scope of governance beyond the 2030 framework to all five dimensions of the energy union, namely, energy security, solidarity and trust; a fully integrated European energy market; energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand; decarbonising the economy; and research, innovation and competitiveness. The State of the Energy Union, from November 2015, proposed that the governance should be anchored in legislation. On 30 November 2016 the legislative proposals were introduced.
The key elements of the proposed governance includes the need for each member state to develop a draft national energy and climate plan, the draft of which would need to be prepared, as proposed by 1 January 2018 and a final plan by 1 January 2019. The plan would consolidate existing national planning and reporting obligations across all, or as much as possible, of the climate and energy area. It will replace, or delete, more than 50 different existing sectorial plans and reports with one comprehensive integrated plan and report. For example, the national energy efficiency action plan, the national renewable energy action plan and the monitoring mechanism regulation for greenhouse gasses, would all be integrated in this single ten year plan. The national energy and climate plan will include trajectories for national emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency and the measures required to achieve these trajectories. These trajectories must be sufficient for countries to meet member state targets and, collectively, for the EU to meet its targets. We will need to set out objectives related to decarbonisation with a 50 year perspective, as proposed. Member states will also be required to co-operate on a regional basis in preparing their national energy and climate plans. The European Commission will have the right to make recommendations on the draft plans, of which member states must take utmost account. Once these plans are in place there will be biennial reporting on progress in regard to the plans, with the first report due in 2021.
Another key element of the proposed governance is that the European Commission may take action in 2023 if it assess that the EU is at risk of not meeting its targets. This could require member states to take action such as adjusting their share of renewable energy, in heating and cooling and in transport, or to make a financial contribution to an EU level fund. It may also lead to EU-level actions such as increasing or enhancing energy efficiency standards. With regard to the fund, it is worth noting that if a member state does not maintain its baseline share of renewable energy, which was 16% in Ireland's case, it is proposed that the gap would be covered by the country making the contribution to an EU-level fund which would then be used for energy efficiency or renewable energy measures throughout the EU.
It is fair to say that the proposal is viewed as positive but quite ambitious, as has been expressed by many countries and not just Ireland, about the level of ambition of completing this draft plan by 2018, but it is proposed that these plans need to be developed in parallel with the legislative proposal that is underwriting them and the other legislative proposals that are inputting into them. In view of the timeframes involved for the period 2021 to 2030, we cannot negotiate all the proposals and then start writing the plan.
I will conclude on the first part of our discussion which looked at consultation. The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment will commence a public consultation later this month on the whole clean energy package. This will further inform views and give people, society and business, etc., the ability to directly input into what Ireland's negotiating stance should be on these proposals.
I could move on and outline Brexit as well, if that helps.