The tenth EU-US Energy Council met in Brussels, attended by key representatives from the European Union and the United States. The Council serves as the primary forum for transatlantic coordination on strategic energy issues, aiming to enhance energy security, promote energy efficiency, develop technologies for net-zero emissions, and support research, innovation, and business cooperation.
The EU and the US reaffirmed their commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Council recognized the critical role of the Joint Energy Security Task Force, established in March 2022, in eliminating the EU's reliance on Russian fossil fuels and reducing natural gas demand.
The Council condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which has triggered a global food and energy security crisis. Russia's attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure have jeopardized nuclear safety and security. The EU and the US plan to continue coordinating responses to stabilize global energy markets and support the energy transition required to achieve the Paris Agreement's goals.
The Council reaffirmed its support for Ukraine's and Moldova's integration with the EU and their pursuit of EU membership. It intends to continue providing emergency energy assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries, such as Moldova. The Council condemned Russia's actions at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and called for the withdrawal of Russian personnel and equipment.
To strengthen energy security and accelerate the global energy transition, the Council plans to coordinate transatlantic policy actions in neighboring regions. The EU and the US will support transparent, integrated, and competitive energy markets in the Western Balkans and regions such as the South Caucasus, Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa.
The Council underlined the importance of energy savings, energy efficiency, and the rapid deployment of renewables as key pillars of the energy transition. The EU and the US will work together to foster energy investments and secure supply chains for critical minerals and raw materials necessary for the transition to net-zero emissions.
The Council supports the role of nuclear power in decarbonizing energy systems and plans to co-organize a High-Level Small Modular Reactors (SMR) Forum later this year. It also intends to advance the reduction of global methane emissions and promote transparency in methane emissions data in the fossil energy sector.
The Council endorsed joint workshops in 2023 on just transition, energy poverty, and economic and workforce development assistance for communities in transition. It also aims to step up research and innovation cooperation in fusion research and climate-neutrality transition pathways.
Lastly, the Council acknowledged progress on multilateral initiatives and plans to continue discussing strategic topics and coordinating positions ahead of major multilateral events, such as climate COPs, G7, G20, and other international organizations and initiatives.
The U.S.-EU Task Force on Energy Security was established one year ago by President Biden and President von der Leyen to reduce the EU's reliance on Russian energy and align with its climate objectives.
The Task Force has made significant progress in diversifying natural gas supplies, with the U.S. doubling its target and delivering 56 bcm of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU in 2022, reducing Russian gas imports from 37% to 16%. The EU also managed to reduce its overall demand for natural gas by 19% through various measures, including energy efficiency improvements and digital solutions.
The Task Force is an extension of the U.S.-EU Energy Council and serves as a platform for information exchange and monitoring of energy security in the EU and neighboring countries. It has discussed various topics, including global LNG markets, regulatory environment, U.S. LNG export capacities, and EU LNG infrastructure. The Task Force has also facilitated solutions for emergency energy security and enhanced clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures.
Led by Björn Seibert, Amos Hochstein, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, and Sarah Ladislaw, the Task Force reports to both presidents and includes representatives from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the European Commission Directorate General of Energy, as well as private sector and NGO representatives.
In 2023, the Task Force will focus on energy market shocks and high energy prices caused by Russia's war against Ukraine. Priorities include assessing LNG markets, ensuring 50 bcm of U.S. LNG deliveries to Europe, reducing methane emissions, and promoting energy savings and efficiency measures. The EU Energy Platform will launch its first joint tenders in May 2023, open to all non-Russian gas sellers, with the Task Force facilitating U.S. LNG industry engagement.
Additionally, the Task Force will support measures to reduce methane emissions and promote transparency in the fossil fuel sector. It will also facilitate efforts to minimize flaring, methane, and CO2 emissions across the value chain. The Task Force will engage in sub-dialogues to explore deeper cooperation on energy efficiency solutions, demand response policies, and digital solutions for consumer savings.
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