Energy Storage: A New Environmental Challenge
Press statement by Giorgos Georgiou, AKEL MEP
27th January 2020
Our planet is on fire. And what has not been burned is being lost in the floods. The environmental damage caused by the abuse of the earth’s natural resources and the reckless activity of multinational companies is enormous. We have heard big talk and pompous announcements being made about the goal of protecting the environment. However, at the ‘zero’ point we have reached drastic measures are imperative to save what is left.
Within the framework of the EU’s action to address climate change, the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) has begun the debate on the formulation of a European strategy for energy storage. Undoubtedly, a comprehensive energy storage strategy but focused on protecting the environment and society’s interests, can play a pivotal role in the struggle to achieve a zero-emission energy system based on renewable energy sources.
As shadow Rapporteur for the report on this strategy, I have stressed that the priority of my Political Group, the European United Left, is firstly to secure energy as a public social commodity and to utilize energy storage so as to enhance energy security and combat energy poverty, by promoting public investment in energy storage facilities, especially from renewable sources. In the context of a European strategy, it is important that substantial investments are made in upgrading the public transport means and that they operating on renewable energy, which will be stored. In the same direction, renovations to public buildings are needed to increase their energy efficiency and operate by using energy from renewable sources.
There is also an urgent need to ensure that all citizens have equal possibility and access to new energy storage technologies. For example, significant incentives must be given to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as substantial subsidies to consumers so that they can acquire electric vehicles, but also the necessary energy storage facilities in their homes, such as the self-generating system, Net metering and with the possibility of deploying storage systems.
In the debates that have taken place so far in the European Parliament, we have underlined in particular that in the context of its European strategy, the EU should provide substantial support to the most vulnerable member states for the creation of the necessary energy storage infrastructures. A characteristic example is Cyprus, which, although having great potential for renewable energy, still uses conventional fuel oil for electricity production. More specifically, in the transport sector Cyprus uses just 4% renewable energy for the generation of electricity, while the EU binding target set to be achieved by 31.12.20 is 10%. As a result, today citizens are now called upon to bear the heavy financial burden of the government’s failure, paying further increases in already high fuel prices due to the compulsory mixing of biofuels with motor fuels.
Another option for energy storage is liquefied natural gas (LNG), which can be used as a transitional fuel, until the goal of full conversion to renewable energy is achieved. We will for that reason submit an amendment to the relevant Report, backing the creation of an LNG liquefaction terminal in Cyprus, which should utilize the domestic resources, but also the deposits of the wider area.
Today’s generation is the last that can prevent global warming, as well as the first that will suffer from its consequences. We don’t have the luxury to fail again! It is therefore imperative to pursue new policies for economic and social development aimed at sustainable development for the benefit of the peoples.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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