Estonian presidency champions energy market digitalisation

Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Estonia's economic minister, Kadri Simson, attend the signing ceremony of the e-energy declaration. [EU2017.EE]

Ahead of an informal meeting of EU energy and transport ministers in Estonia on Wednesday (20 September), politicians and industry representatives signed the Tallinn e-energy declaration, with the aim of digitising the market even further.

As part of a high-level conference on electricity markets, organised by holder of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU Estonia, participants were asked to sign a declaration whose aim is to increase the digitalisation of the energy market.

The declaration pledges the signatories to working towards the EU’s climate and energy goals through innovative, digital technology solutions, both new and old. These include maximising storage facilities and developing smart energy efficiency tools.

It also aims to enhance cooperation between the public sector and private companies to help consumers find the best energy prices and providers via digital avenues.

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“Building the secure energy sector of the future requires broad cooperation among all stakeholders,” said Kadri Simson, Estonia’s minister for economic affairs and infrastructure. She added that the next step is to explore the “no-man’s land” between the energy and digital sectors.

Given the increased use of technology in the energy sector, this is likely to be the first of many initiatives that hope to merge the two fields, as concerns about cyber threats and privacy are only set to rise.

Simson was joined in signing the document by European Commissioner for Climate Miguel Arias Cañete, who arrived at the Tallinn conference fresh from talks in Canada and the United States on picking up the baton of climate action leadership following the election of President Donald Trump.

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Cañete welcomed the declaration, highlighting the “recognition of the importance of digital solutions” in creating an energy system that works for all.

His European Commission colleague, Energy Union boss Maroš Šefčovič, thanked the Estonian presidency for organising the conference, adding that the Baltic country’s six month stint at the helm of the Council has “come at an important time” and that Estonia embodies the flexibility and digital know-how needed for an effective electricity market.

Although the declaration carries no legal weight, the enthusiastic response to the document highlights how important issues like energy efficiency, data security in the sector and renewable energy usage have become in a post-Paris Agreement world.

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