The Strategic frame of the Sustainable energy priority area (PA2)

In accordance with the Europe 2030 climate and energy framework and Energy Union Strategy, the spread of the use of renewable energy sources (RES) can be seen in the Region. The available biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal resource base varies across the regions, therefore there is a need to further map the energy landscape to fully understand the potential of the countries and issues we are facing.

The decarbonisation of the heating sector in the Danube Region needs regional cooperation and harmonised actions in order to reduce the energy consumption and cut its use of fossil fuels. A significant segment of the heating sector is district heating. These systems are often obsolete, fed by gas and coal, therefore have significantly negative impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, but also raise serious issues on energy efficiency and security of supply (due to the imported nature of many of these resources, especially gas). The target is to support that at least five obsolete fossil-fuel based district heating systems planned to be modernised / transformed to be RES based by 2025. The recent trends in climate change require the adaption of cooling systems as well, for which renewables provide excellent opportunities.

Due to the transport sector greenhouse gases and air pollutants emission trends are unfavourable in the Region. The transit role of the region and increasing dominance of the diesel-fuelled road transportation. Use of alternative fuels in the region contribute to the implementation of the 2014/94/EU Directive (deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure).

In order to better interconnect regions, the key actions of this PA focus on improved cooperation with the relevant EU initiatives like the Central and South Eastern European Energy Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group, the Energy Community, the Carpathian Convention and with the energy-related areas and thematic groups of the other macro-regional strategies (EUSBR, EUSALP, EUSAIR), as well as other international organisations working in the field of energy policy developments (e.g. IEA, IRENA, UNECE, etc.).

The Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group17, which has been established in 2015, works to accelerate the integration of central eastern and south eastern European gas and electricity markets. The initial aim was to coordinate efforts to facilitate the swift completion of cross-border and trans-European projects that diversify gas supplies to the region and to develop regional gas markets and implement harmonised EU rules. In 2017, CESEC’s scope was extended to a joint approach on electricity markets (including priority interconnections projects), energy efficiency and renewable development.

The Energy Community, established in 2005 with the aim to implement the relevant EU energy acquis, to develop an adequate regulatory framework and to liberalise their energy markets is the most important part of the PA  in terms of cooperation with the non-EU member state countries.

To encourage more sustainable energy (Mission of PA 2 in the 2010 Action Plan):

  • To help achieve national targets based on the Europe 2030 climate and energy targets
  • To remove existing bottlenecks in energy to fulfil the goals of the Energy Union within the Danube Region
  • To better interconnect regions by joint activities with relevant initiatives and institutions

EU Cohesion Policy Provisions:

  • Relevant policy objective(s):

Mainly PO 2, “a greener, low-carbon Europe”;

  • Specific policy objective(s):

promoting energy efficiency measures; promoting renewable energy; developing smart energy systems, grids and storage at local level

EU Neighbourhood Policy Provisions:

  • To support and foster dialogue and cooperation with third countries and regions in the Neighbourhood;

Enlargement Policy Provisions:

  • To strengthen economic and social development through reinforced environmental protection, increased resilience to climate change, accelerating the shift towards a low-carbon economy
  • To support territorial and cross-border cooperation

Sector-relevant background: