The electricity market reform proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday contains small steps in the right direction but is not enough to spread the benefits of renewables to consumers, according to Austrian Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler.
On Tuesday, the European Commission tabled its proposal to reform the EU electricity market by introducing more protection for consumers, rolling out more renewables and increasing demand-side measures.
While Austria agrees that “on the way to a renewable, climate-friendly electricity system, pricing must also be improved” and “people should also benefit from cheap green electricity from Europe,” the reform “falls short of expectations,” said Gewessler.
The Commission is not doing enough, according to Austria which relies on renewable sources, mostly hydropower, for 70% of its energy. In 2020, Austria also had the highest share of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption at 78.2%.
“We are doing our homework in Austria – we already have more domestic green electricity than any other EU country. The people in Austria have a right to benefit from this development,” said Gewessler, highlighting that Vienna wants to see the benefits of this spread to its citizens.
Vienna will now look at the proposal and “call for concrete improvements”, including decoupling electricity prices from volatile, high gas prices.
“This is certainly not an easy task – but it is necessary. The Commission is challenged here and must not shirk its responsibility,” Gewessler also said.
(Kira Taylor | EURACTIV.com)