Towards sustainable, reliable and affordable energy for Europe

Resolution submitted by: JEF Political Commission 2 – Internal European Affairs.
Adopted by the Federal Committee in Malta on 19 March 2023

The fundamental importance of a reliable and affordable access to energy as a prerequisite to almost any human activity has been highlighted recently as the security of Europe’s energy supply has been threatened as a consequence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. However, other trends must not be forgotten: the world must get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions quickly if humanity wants to prevent the worst effects of climate change from coming into being.

This resolution aims to build a path forward to a decarbonised, reliable and affordable supply of energy for Europe by 2050. It focuses on the production of electricity, as well as heating and cooling of buildings.

JEF Europe,

  • Recognising that the world is emitting 51 bn tons carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually, and that currently about 27% of that amount go into making electricity for powering our homes and offices and 7% go into heating and cooling buildings;
  • Welcoming the European Green Deal target of climate neutrality in 2050, and the intermediate step outlined in the Fit for 55 package of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels;
  • Noting the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities’ inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities under strict conditions into the definition of sustainable activities on the grounds that nuclear is a low-carbon energy source and under condition that the long-term disposal of waste does not cause significant or long-term harm to the environment, and that gas has a role to play as a transition fuel in decarbonisation;
  • Noting with the greatest regret that natural gas was included in the green taxonomy, and its supposed role in the green transition have been greatly overemphasised;
  • Noting with very deep concern Europe’s dependence on oil and gas imports, both from an environmental and geopolitical point of view, as energy can be used as political blackmail against the EU, as experienced since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia;
  • Regretting the EU’s short-sighted, continued and growing energy dependence on Russia, in particular, until the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, among others, the construction of Nord Stream II, despite the invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in 2014;
  • Noting that European countries, since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, have started building LNG terminals and buying up gas on world markets, leading some developing countries to burning more coal instead and locking its dependence to fossil fuels instead of investing in renewables;
  • Concerned about potential international trade distortions caused by renewable energy-related subsidies in China as well as the USA (Inflation Reduction Act) and stressing the importance of operating on a level playing field in international trade;
  • Mindful that the wider decarbonisation of our economies mean a higher demand on electricity, as more and more industries such as concrete and steel manufacturers, as well as transport, are electrified, and aware that this electrification will have to come mostly from renewable sources if we are to get to net zero carbon;
  • Noting with deep concern Europe’s continued dependence on a limited number of countries for key resources for its energy transition towards renewables, such as copper, nickel, lithium, and rare minerals;
  • Noting with satisfaction that the costs of installing renewable sources of energy, such as solar, wind and heat pumps have come down and become very affordable across most of Europe;
  • Recalling JEF resolution “Better integrated and more sustainable mobility infrastructure for an Ever Closer Union” adopted on 13 November 2022;
  • Recalling JEF resolution “Environment does not stop at borders: Towards a Sustainable Europe and a Sustainable Global Climate Policy”, adopted on 10 April 2022;
  • Recalling JEF resolution “An Accelerated Transition to the Circular Economy”, adopted on 21 November 2021;


JEF Europe therefore,

With regard to energy production:

  1. Asks that more research be invested into the decarbonisation of how we heat and cool buildings, manufacture goods and materials and how we produce and store electricity, and that this research should be performed
    a. by the private sector where technologies are more mature already,
    b. by public-private partnerships, where public involvement will help de-risk the research enough to attract private funding,
    c. directly by public research institutions where promising technologies exist that are not yet mature nor de-risked enough to attract private funding, but where a high decarbonising potential exists in case of success;
  2. Demands that the EU and Member States together come up with a comprehensive strategy to ensure a reliable and sufficient supply of raw materials that are critical for Europe’s energy demand and transition that focuses on reducing and recycling raw materials as well as diversifying the supply;
  3. Calls on the EU and Member States together to keep the European renewable energy industry competitive on the international stage by ensuring a level- playing field in the face of market distortions from countries such as the United States and China;
  4. Stresses that should the EU incentivise the exploration and development of new mining sites within and outside of Europe to diversify the supply of raw materials, in case recycling and reutilisation are unable to cover the demand for those materials, these activities need to adhere to strict environmental as well as labour standards and decision-making needs, to be citizen-controlled and in accordance with affected communities;
  5. Emphasises the need for Europe to become more independent in the manufacturing process of solar panels and technologies;
  6. Encourages the EU and European countries to work together with partners in the Southern Neighbourhood to develop new solar power fields and projects that may benefit everyone;
  7. Calls for national, regional and local authorities in Europe to remove any unnecessary administrative burdens for the deployment of solar panels and wind power plants by homeowners, companies and public institutions;
  8. Encourages further research into and deployment of wind energy parks, including offshore while developing and respecting proper environmental safeguards;
  9. Recommends enhancing the power production of existing hydropower facilities wherever possible, and building new hydropower plants only when the energy and economic benefits are sufficient and with proper environmental safeguards, thus avoiding impacts on pristine ecosystems;
  10. Proposes further research into biofuels, including advanced biofuels, as well as green hydrogen and electrofuels, as possible alternatives to decarbonise industries;
  11. Stresses that the production of biofuels should not happen by cutting down forests or other natural habitats and should not lead to constraints for developing countries’ food security;
  12. Notes that renewable (“green”) hydrogen should continue to be researched as a potential contributor to decarbonising industrial processes as well as a potential replacement to fossil fuels used in the transport sector;
  13. Believes that nuclear energy, including the development and commissioning of small modular reactors, has a role to play in the energy transition, provided their safety can be ensured under independent supervision and provided there is a well-funded plan in place to deal with nuclear waste over the long-term, while ensuring that it does not lead to increasing energy dependency from the Russian Federation.
  14. Welcomes recent developments on nuclear fusion, but recognises that any commercial use of these systems might still be decades away, and that we can therefore not rely on these systems for the decarbonisation of our economies in the medium term;
  15. Strongly encourages the use of heat-pumps to decarbonise heating and cooling of buildings, as a well-proven technology that may be deployed anywhere and that can be scaled to provide heating and cooling from the individual house to an entire city block;
  16. Notes that enhanced geothermal systems may not be well-adapted for use in most of Europe, except in areas with a high increase of temperature in the Earth’s crust, typically volcanic regions, where they could constitute interesting options to generate heat and even electric power;
  17. Recognises that fossil fuels today still make up a large part of Europe’s energy supply, and that the transition, though it needs to happen fast, will take some time, thus requiring:
  1. a. more research into carbon capture and storage as a potential way to directly reduce currently difficult to abate emissions,
    b. deployment of carbon capture and storage technology in areas where it is deemed scientifically viable, in order to avoid new carbon emissions into the atmosphere, as long as it does not undermine our emissions reduction efforts,
    c. more research generally into decarbonising our industrial processes, especially but not limited to industries such as cement and concrete, steel, and plastics;
  2. Calls for residual heat from industrial processes or nuclear energy generation to be used for district heating wherever possible, and that planning processes for new relevant industries above a certain size should automatically require the inclusion of a plan on how to reuse residual heat instead of simply discarding it;


With regard to energy transport and distribution:


  1. Underlines the importance of enhancing our European electricity grid’s large-scale capacity for electricity transport, both within the individual countries and across the borders, as an indispensable preliminary to decarbonising and electrifying industries, mobility, as well as heating and cooling of buildings;
  2. Highlights that the decentralised production of energy, using solar panels, heat pumps, etc. should be better integrated into the main grid, so as to be able to provide any excess energy to neighbouring customers, or even to the higher-voltage transport grid;
  3. Notes that the development of green hydrogen projects at scale will also require the development of a grid to transport it and calls for all investments into fossil fuel grids made today (for repairs) to integrate a mandatory check to facilitate a later upgrade to transport green hydrogen, advanced biofuels or electrofuels, in order to avoid sunk costs once fossil oil and gas demand goes down;


With regard to energy demand:

  1. Reminds that the best energy demand reduction is the one that is achieved by renovation of buildings, a switch to more energy efficient processes, by avoiding waste of energy, such as overheating buildings or electrical devices that consume energy on stand-by, and that everyone’s contribution is required to achieve these energy savings;
  2. Calls upon the EU, Member States as well as businesses and individuals to consider the energy content of products and services that they procure or purchase, be they manufactured in the EU or imported from abroad;
  3. Highlights that grid operators and energy providers should make use of existing technology such as smart metres to dynamically regulate demand, performing demand-side management, to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of expensive peaks in electricity demand;
  4. Reminds that storage needs will increase very fast with the increase in the share of electricity generated from intermittent renewable sources, and that these needs will be multi-timescale, with day-night, weekly as well as summer- winter cycles needing to be handled, which will require the use of multiple solutions for storage, as well as better financial incentives for operators who are able to store energy;
  5. Stresses the importance of heating and cooling energy savings achieved e.g. by building proper housing insulation;
  6. Stresses the exponential rise of energy demand from computing, and calls for more research into energy-efficient options, including improvements in hardware design, data centre architecture, improved algorithms, use of lower-precision calculations where possible, and changes in consumer behaviour;


With regard to regulation and trading:

  1. Calls upon the EU and member states to create common energy markets with non-EU as well as non-EEA countries, such as the UK and Switzerland, on level-playing field basis;
  2. Demands consequent funding to be provided for innovative research projects as well as start-ups that commercialise products or services and are considered too risky by private investors, but recognised as having a high decarbonisation potential for the European or world economy;
  3. Requests the development of trainings and courses to specialise more people in renewable energy industries and developing incentives to get more people to work in these industries;
  4. Calls upon the EU and member states to remove unnecessary financial, administrative and judicial barriers to accelerate permitting procedures of renewable energy- related projects to achieve the energy transition faster, while withholding high safety standards;
  5. Demands that European countries guarantee the security of their critical energy infrastructure collectively and collaborate more to that effect, reducing the dependence at the maximum on energy provided by dictatorships to ensure Europe’s political independence and preserve the reliability of energy.