Climate, energy security and innovation

11-08-2008 | Publication

The threefold objective for EU energy policies is the mitigation of climate change, the security of energy supply, and the promotion of the competitiveness of the EU economy. Possible synergies and trade-offs between the three related policy goals are discussed in this study by evaluating existing mitigation scenarios, insights from the innovation literature, insights into the potentials of and market barriers to innovative low carbon energy technologies, information on EU policies and measures to date, as well as EU external relations in the energy field.


Objectives of EU energy policies are threefold: they need to contribute to a mitigation of climate change, a secure energy supply and to the competitiveness of the EU economy. There are reasons to believe that technological innovation will be key to the EU’s competitive position. The objectives for energy policy were laid down in the Energy Policy Package proposed by the European Commission in January 2007 and endorsed by the European Council in the Conclusions to the Spring Council a few months later. This report, performed within the framework of the Netherlands Research Programme on Scientific Assessment and Policy Analysis for Climate Change (WAB), unravels the synergies and trade-offs between climate change, energy security and technological innovation.

It is concluded firstly that the synergy between climate change mitigation, energy security and competitiveness suggested by the three-fold objective of EU energy policies is not straightforward. Secondly, current EU energy policies to stimulate (nearly) commercial and immature technologies are most likely insufficient to mitigate climate change and secure energy supply up to and beyond 2050.