BASREC energiministermöte 14-15 maj 2012, session I Security of Energy supply - Joint Efforts on Enhancing Co-operation 14 maj 2012
Anna-Karin Hatt, It- och energiminister
Secure and Sustainable supply and use of energy
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Fellow Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,
May I begin by thanking our German hosts for this very well prepared meeting. We have already had many interesting discussions - and I am looking forward to more to come.
For there can be no doubt that the world today faces some truly great challenges. And whilst our concerns right now may be about financial difficulties and poor economic growth, we must not forget that even greater concerns lie directly ahead.
The International Energy Agency could not have been clearer when it recently stated that we are rapidly approaching a point of no return. When it will simply be too late - let alone too costly - to arrest the effects of climate change.
And, ladies and gentlemen, as I and many others see it, the challenge of climate change is, after all, a challenge of energy and energy supply.
In fact the only way we will achieve both lasting economic growth and secure our welfare systems in Europe is to move forward in a sustainable way.
We have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
We have to use energy more efficiently.
And by using less energy and by introducing renewable supply alternatives we will also make our societies less vulnerable: - less vulnerable to possible disruptions in traditional energy supplies.
Simply put: energy use in most countries means a substantial use of fossil fuels. Even in countries where many sectors are not very carbon intensive, like Sweden, this remains the case in a sector like transport.
So, less energy use and more alternative supplies are relevant for all sectors, and for all of us.
After increased energy efficiency, the most important way forward to decreased emissions of energy related greenhouse gases is the increase of the use of renewable energy sources.
This, at the same time, helps diversify the energy supply. And again we find a double purpose: the increased use of renewable energy firstly promotes security of supply. Secondly, it decreases emissions of greenhouse gases.
As politicians and policy makers we know that the debate about security of energy supply is nothing new. Much of today's energy policies originated in the oil crises in the 1970:s, and the various ways of how oil importing countries - like my own - did chose to respond to that.
The current debate within the European Union has focussed strongly on how to create interconnections between countries to find ways to optimize our common use of energy resources. Resources that today are largely based on fossil fuels.
When more than 80 percent of our total energy consumption is based on fossil fuels, we can not deny that fossil fuels have a role to play within our energy systems;
both today and in the foreseeable future, until the necessary transition to sustainability is achiecved.
And I do not deny the benefits of building an efficient infrastructure for energy.
But we must not, and cannot forget that our world and the challenges our planet now faces are wider than these, and that there isa strong sence of urgency in our situation.
We know the environmental challenges we face today are huge and complex.
And we also know that they are not going to go away by themselves.
This means that we, deep down, know that we must have a wider vision of what energy policy is about, including how we think about security of supply.
We need to realize that security of supply is not just a question of transport routes and interconnections. It is also a matter of sustainability in a broader sense.
What we choose to do to better secure our energy supplies must also take environmental concerns on board. Measures to improve energy efficiency and making better use of renewable energy sources have to be seen as - vital parts of the solution.
Given all this, I am glad that the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection plan is based on this kind of broader view. It not only takes into consideration the needs for improvement in energy infrastructure in the region as a whole. It also recognises the vital roles of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and it highlights the need for development of energy markets in the region.
In the Baltic Sea region we have a number of assets that can contribute to an enhanced understanding of what energy policy of today is, and what it can be.
Within our region we have gained much experience in the fields of renewable energy sources and in measures to promote energy efficiency.
And we also have great potential for cost efficient projects in the region, not least for bioenergy. There is scope for a mutually rewarding co-operation that can serve not only our own countries, but also play as examples for others.
So, in conclusion, to BASREC.
To my mind BASREC should be a forum for pragmatic co-operation and a full exchange of ideas.
BASREC may not be the forum where we make final decisions to build new interconnections. But it can and should be a forum where we discuss the pros and cons of possible solutions to challenges in energy infrastructure for our region. Which I look forward to in this session.
And BASREC may not be the place where we solve the global challenges relating to climate change. But it can and should be a forum where we discuss what these challenges mean for us here in our region, and how we can meet them together. Which I look forward to in sessions II and III.
Important studies have been made in all these fields. I would like to stress how important it is to remember the many links and connections that exist between the themes. That have to try to find win-win solutions, and understand that they may be relevant to more than one goal.
The energy and climate challenges are huge and complex. We face these challenges both worldwide and in our region. So solutions we find for this region can also contribute to worldwide solutions.
Last but not least; there are ample opportunities for valuable solutions that will serve more than one goal if we make the most of them. We need to work further on energy efficiency and we need to make better use of the potential for energy from renewables. This will serve a supply and use of energy which is both sustainable and secure.
Ladies and gentlemen, Fellow Ministers - BASREC is important. The steps we take today towards a more sustainable energy system in our region, I am convinced, will be an important part of the solutions tomorrow.