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European energy policy
Belgium relieved Spain of the European Presidency in July.Its presidency revolved around major themes such as security of supply, consumer rights, the gradual reduction of carbonconstructing a modern and integrated European gas and electricity transmission grid and Europe's energy future.

The Russian gas supply crisis in 2008 and 2009 prompted the drafting of a Regulation on Security of Supply, which the European Parliament finally approved on 21 September.

The Regulation seeks to impel measures which will help improve the security of supply for all EU countries, while protecting the most vulnerable consumers against the possibility of a power outage.  This Regulation reinforces European coordination and establishes a series of requirements concerning gas connections between Member States.

Said Regulation affirms that natural gas is an essential player in the EU’s energy supply, as it constitutes one-fourth of the primary energy supply and plays a fundamental role in electricity generation, heating, raw materials for industry and transportation fuel.
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The interconnectedness of energy infrastructures between Member States was one of the year’s foremost discussion points. This is where, for example, Regulation 617/2010 from the Council, from 24 June, concerning the communication sent to the Commission on energy infrastructure investment projects within the European Union (OJEU 15.7.2010) fits in, along with the study compiled to estimate the investment (20,000 million euros) needed to modernise energy infrastructures by 2030.

This year, preliminary guidelines issued prior to TEN-E document renewal were approved, to construct a wider, more modern and more effective trans-European energy network.   This document reflects the need to complete the Spain-France interconnections.

On 18 June, Directive 2010/31/EU from the European Parliament and Council on the energy efficiency of buildings was published. This document adapts Directive 2002/91/EC, which had been modified on various occasions.

Work continued on the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) throughout 2010. The goal is to define, devise, develop and implement the finest low-carbon technology systems, with a faster expected evolution. Scopes of action include topics like capturing, transporting and storing CO2, bio-energy, fuel cells, solar energy, etc.

The work to adopt a Directive concerning the indication by labelling and standard information of the consumption of energy (redrafting) became a reality in the OJEU, with the publication on 12 May of the Council’s (EU) Position on the first reading of the first draft.

Another subject which formed part of the EC’s 2010 agenda was a carbon dioxide emissions tax. Sought-after targets include standardising already implemented criteria in a number of EU countries and adjusting existing tax regulations on energy products within the EC by way of Directive 2003/96/EC (which does not specifically factor in the distinct products’ emissions). Possible adverse side-effects on the economies’ recovery rate were the primary source of confrontation atop the work desks.

On 4 and 5 May, ACER’s (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) Council of Regulators held its first meeting in Brussels. ACER will become operational in March 2011, with headquarters in Ljubljana (Slovenia). ACER will complement the work of National Regulatory Authorities on a European level and play a key role in integrating the single gas and electricity markets. It constitutes the European framework for cooperation between national regulators.

On 11 November, the Commission released a working document entitled Energy 2020. A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy.

With this document, the European Commission summarises all the energy legislation it plans to propose over the next 18 months, in an effort to help Europe meet its 2020 targets of energy supply security and creating a low-carbon emissions sector.

European governments adopted the EU’s first energy action plan in 2007, therein asking the Commission to issue a second plan for the period after 2010.  The strategy aims to provide a global perspective of the upcoming regulation, helping the EU reach its targets of ensuring the energy supply, developing renewable energy sources and improving network connections and energy efficiency.

Within the communication on Energy Strategy 2020, the Commission drafted five priorities: improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings, ensure all EU Member States are connected to the correct energy infrastructure, strengthen energy policies with third-party countries, develop intelligent energy and innovation technology networks and ensure customers have secure, affordable energy.

On 21 December 2010, the OJEU published the Council Decision, from 10 December, on State aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive coal mines. Company aid specifically intended to cover production losses could be considered compatible with the internal market, provided its use is presented in a closure plan that must end no later than 31 December 2018. This decision extends the previously established time limit by four years. Subsidies must decrease in a staggered fashion starting in 2013.

Annual Report 2010
Annual Report 2.010: Sedigas - The Spanish Gas Association